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Bringing the Lab into the Booking Room: DNAscan Rapid DNA Analysis System from GE Healthcare and NetBio

Fast, reliable DNA results processed by officers right in the booking station

The following is paid content sponsored by GE Healthcare Life Sciences 

By Police1 Staff

For years, sample processing and DNA analysis have been conducted in forensic laboratories because the equipment, materials, personnel, and training necessary for accurate results have been well beyond most agency budgets. In addition to the frustration of waiting for submitted samples to return results, in part due to an increasing utilization of DNA analysis in police investigation coupled with expansion of DNA database laws, valuable time can be lost in the critical time-since-the-crime dynamic. The longer it takes to receive DNA results, the less likely it is that a suspect will be apprehended using those results.

Easy-to-use DNAscan Rapid DNA Analysis System  
Now it is possible to create a DNA reference profile right in the booking room using the mil-spec, field-ready DNAscan Rapid DNA Analysis System, from GE Healthcare and NetBio™. All officers can operate the DNAscan System competently and effectively with minimal training, and DNA results from up to five samples are ready in less than 85 minutes. The system is easy to use—simply collect a buccal sample using a NetBio BioChipSet™ Swab with RFID tag, enter a unique sample ID, scan the swab’s cap using the instrument’s external RFID Reader, insert and lock the swab into a sample chamber in the DNAscan BioChipSet Cassette. Next, load the cassette into the DNAscan instrument, and close the door. The DNAscan instrument automatically processes the samples and provides high-quality DNA results suitable for database searching.

Simple workflow for using the DNAscan Rapid DNA Analysis System to process buccal swab samples and generate lab-quality DNA results
With a small footprint, easy-to-transport design, and user-friendly setup, the DNAscan System instrument can be placed in almost any available space within the station house. The highly shock-resistant internal mechanisms protect against jostling. Even if the instrument is bumped, no realignment or recalibration is needed. This ruggedization feature helps to ensure uptime at critical moments in a case’s evolution.

Before operating the DNAscan instrument, a user must log in using an account created by a department-designated administrator. The system administrator controls the access level of different users to ensure secure data handling and can modify or delete user accounts to accommodate staffing changes. 

Once an authorized user has logged in, the user enters a unique sample ID for the first sample using the keyboard on the touch screen user interface.  Next, the RFID tag in the sample cap is scanned by the instrument’s external RFID Reader via an RFID tag permanently embedded in the swab’s cap. This step begins the process of ensuring secure sample for that DNA sample is maintained throughout the steps that follow.

The swab is then inserted into a sample chamber in the room temperature-stable, completely enclosed, disposable BioChipSet Cassette, which contains all of the required reagents, materials, and components for sample processing and DNA analysis, including PCR chambers and separation channels. 

Once inserted, the swab becomes permanently sealed and locked to minimize the risk of cross contamination. After five swabs are inserted, the cassette is loaded into an access door in the DNAscan instrument and locks into place. 

After the access door is closed, the remaining steps are completed automatically by the DNAscan instrument. Each sample is scanned by the instrument’s internal RFID reader to link the sample to the specific sample chamber and ultimately to the DNA results from that chamber. In less than 85 minutes your agency will have up to five lab-quality DNA reference samples ready for comparison. 

Benefits of the DNAscan System for law enforcement
The DNAscan System provides the possibility of obtaining DNA evidence strong enough to obtain a search or arrest warrant within hours of a crime occurring. It is designed for the rugged environment in which officers work.

A reference sample generated using the DNAscan System gives you the advantage of time in catching your suspect. A second sample from the same individual, collected using a standard, collector included in the DNAscan Collection Kit along with the BioChipSet Swab, can be sent to an accredited central lab to obtain a CODIS-eligible sample. 

The first 48 hours after a crime are considered to be critical for catching a perpetrator and ensuring justice for the victims and their families. The ability to obtain DNA results from suspects while they are still in custody would aid law enforcement in solving crimes, convicting criminals, and exonerating the innocent.

With DNA analysis becoming a more widely used tool in the modern crime-fighting arsenal, the DNAscan Rapid DNA Analysis System represents the future of best policing practice in a format designed for use by police officers in the booking station. Contact GE Healthcare at for more information.

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