Teams of researchers have developed software that utilizes DNA
New software, developed by cooperating teams of researchers from Columbia University and the New York Genome Center (NYGC), will help to quickly and accurately verify identity using DNA.
The method involves using the MinION DNA sequencing device, a small, credit card sized device that is capable of sequencing 10-20 GB of data in real-time, along with off-the-shelf technology.
In the two-step process, the researchers were able to take individual variants (unique nucleotides) from DNA sequenced with the MinION and apply a probability algorithm (called a Bayesian algorithm) to compare each unique set of variants with corresponding variants in other genetic profiles in the database.
With each cross-reference, the probability of verifying a match increases, narrowing the search. Testing has shown that the system is capable of verifying a match between 60-300 cross-references and it takes only minutes.
Neville Sanjana, a core faculty member at NYGC and assistant professor at NYU’s Department of Biology stated, “At the right price, every lab will adopt this.” The ability to quickly, easily, and cheaply authenticate DNA has game-changing potential.
The ability to identify bodies after a tragedy can help families and friends gain important closure. Eliminating resource waste in medical research can also help to speed along the next big life-saving discovery.
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