CSI has taken a step closer to reality as rapid DNA testing that could identify killers in hours has been revealed. The method reduces the time taken to identify suspects at a crime scene from days, preventing suspects going on the run or committing another offence before they are apprehended. Rapid DNA, in tandem with innovative fingerprint technology, is being heralded as a significant revolution in crime scene investigations.
So-called Rapid DNA is a process through which DNA profiles can be returned in two hours or less. It is believed to be an important breakthrough for crime scene investigations that could prevent criminals repeat-offending before they are caught. Earlier this year the first application of Rapid DNA took place in Florida using a system known as RapidHIT 200, which can identify suspects in under 90 minutes. Developed by IntegenX in the US and Key Forensic Services in the UK, it can match swabs taken from a crime scene against a national DNA database and produce a match quickly.
The portable device, which looks a bit like a printer, can take DNA and produce the result much quicker than modern DNA systems. Most importantly, the device does not require any specific specialist knowledge to be used. All it requires is that someone input a sample of DNA, and it will then cross-reference the sample with the DNA database. It takes about three minutes for a user to input the a swab into the system and begin the analysis. Results on DNA matches will then be produced in less than two hours – and the device can even process seven samples simultaneously.