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The Development and Validation of a Rapid Millifluidic DNA analysis system for forensic casework samples

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Rapid DNA detection to fight crime and terrorism

DNA evidence normally takes 3–5 days to process, though it can be done in a day for the right amount of money. But imagine if genetic material from blood, hair or semen could be processed at the scene of the crime, in just a couple of hours.

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EU-funded researchers have been investigating the possibility of a cheap, portable device that would be simple to operate and would develop a DNA profile within two hours. The project ʹThe development and validation of a rapid millifluidic DNA analysis system for forensic casework samplesʹ (MIDAS) was initiated to create such a robust and reliable forensic instrument. Along the way, the researchers faced new and exciting scientific challenges. For instance, DNA would need to be extracted for a range of samples, like blood, semen or saliva, which may be mixed, contaminated by dirt or just degraded. More work is needed to make sure that different samples respond in the same way, but the team have decided on the general design and components of the device. Documents have been produced outlining the technical and scientific approach to be followed for the purification and analysis of the DNA. The project has laid the foundation for rapid DNA analysis to become a reality in the future. A device that could provide investigators with a DNA profile so quickly would help in the fight against murder, rape and even terrorism.

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