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Lockheed Martin, ZyGem to unveil new DNA analysis system

Lockheed Martin and ZyGem are planning to unveil a new DNA analysis system, RapID, to transform how law enforcement, homeland security and defense communities use DNA-based identification in support of their missions.

RapID, developed in collaboration with ZyGem as a Lockheed Martin Technology innovation initiative, leverages the latest in microfluidic research and development to accelerate the DNA identification process essentially building a laboratory on a small, single chip that reduces the processing steps and time needed for analysis.

Lockheed Martin Biometric Solutions director John Mears said that their law enforcement, homeland security and defense communities face a significant challenge in how quickly they can confirm an individual’s identity.

“Our goal with the RapID sample-to-answer DNA analysis device is to transform DNA identification process from one that takes a great deal of training, sophisticated equipment and days or weeks to complete, into an affordable, on-site process that takes less than an hour,” Mears said.

The RapID platform is currently in prototype at ZyGem’s Charlottesville, MicroLab laboratories, with a beta version expected to be released for testing in select laboratories early next year.

ZyGem CEO Paul Kinnon said that ZyGem’s MicroLab technology has been developed with the goal of dramatically reducing today’s complex analytic approaches and the result is a compact platform that can analyze DNA simply, accurately and rapidly, enabling DNA identification to be used more widely and in many more settings.

“Forensic and other federal, state and local government applications represent critical near-term markets for our technology, and we are delighted to have Lockheed Martin as a key teammate in the development of our first systems,” Kinnon said.