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ABI Tools to Outfit New NYC Forensic Lab; State Bill Could Influence Capacity

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – More than $5.5 million worth of PCR instruments and genetic analyzers made by Applied Biosystems will outfit a new DNA forensic lab in New York.
 
However, a bill pending in the New York State legislature could determine whether some of this capacity remains idle.
 
The new Forensic Biology DNA Laboratory, scheduled to be completed in November, cost around $250 million to build and will contain more than 75 of the ABI tools, according to Franek Technologies, whose surge-protection technology will back up the facility.
 
It is meant to expand the testing capacity of the existing facility by allowing DNA to be analyzed from “all [criminal] cases” rather than only from sex crimes and homicides. And if a state bill passes, the new facility will increase the number of forensic samples that New York City contributes to the state's DNA database, according to comments New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg made in May.
 
The legislation, pending in the State Assembly, seeks to require that “all convicted criminals provide DNA samples for inclusion in the State DNA and US Department of Justice CODIS Databases,” according to Bloomberg. The bill, submitted by Governor George Pataki, was passed by the State Senate in February.
 
“Without passage of the DNA legislation, the lab will be unable to maximize its capacity to analyze and evaluate” the additional data, the Bloomberg statement said.
 
The lab will expand an existing facility located at the Bellevue Hospital Complex on Manhattan’s East Side, and will be overseen by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York.
 
Telephone calls to the the OCME and to the Assembly, which is the lower house in the State’s legislature, were not returned in time for this article.

ABI officials able comment on how a smaller capacity could affect the way the lab buys consumables were traveling, according to a company spokesperson.

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