Lockheed Martin and ZyGem Corp. Ltd. plan to release a version of their rapid DNA analysis platform that is designed to simplify and speed DNA analysis for human identity testing. Pre-production units of the platform will be released this summer to select customers in the forensic, homeland security and intelligence communities.
The companies recently unveiled a compact cartridge device that is a key component of the rapid DNA analysis platform during the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS). ZyGem and Lockheed Martin have worked together to develop the platform that uses advanced microfluidics and ZyGEM’s proprietary nucleic acid isolation technology to accelerate the DNA identification process. The team has integrated all the elements to create a compact laboratory on a single chip that reduces the number of DNA processing steps and time required for analysis.
“With the successful development of our fully-integrated cartridge device, this platform now has the potential to transform today’s DNA identification process from one that takes a great deal of training, sophisticated equipment and time into a far simpler, more affordable process that can be performed in the lab or field in under 90 minutes,” said Joan Bienvenue, PhD, Lockheed Martin program manager and chief scientist.
During their presentation at the AAFS meeting, Bienvenue and James Landers, PhD, ZyGem chief scientific officer, explained how the microfluidic cartridge can analyze multiple DNA samples accurately and rapidly, with minimal handling required. The cartridge is designed specifically for human identification applications.
“Unveiling this critical component of our rapid DNA analysis platform at the premier forensic science meeting of the year enabled us to receive feedback from prospective users who are eager for alternatives to the complex, time-consuming and costly options available today,” said ZyGem Chief Executive Officer Paul Kinnon. “The feedback was very positive, and we look forward to offering the capabilities of this platform on a pre-production basis.”