Magazine article National Defense

Wanted: One Fast Affordable Field-Ready DNA Testing Device

Magazine article National Defense

Wanted: One Fast Affordable Field-Ready DNA Testing Device

Article excerpt

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service isn't normally thought of as a big consumer of technology.

But diere is one item high on the Department of Homeland Security agency's wish list. CIS needs a portable device that can rapidly test a subject's DNA in order to verify claimed family relationships, said agency associate director Greg Smith, who heads die national security and records verification direcorate

Such a device is needed for bodi overseas and domestic use. Abroad, die test would be used in refugee camps to process humanitarian petitions of those seeking asylum in the United States. Many of these refugees have large families.

The agency previously conducted surveys in two refugee camps to see if it was doing a good job of vetting the petitioners' family relationships. It found a staggering 80 percent rate of non-correspondence between what was claimed and what later showed up in DNA tests.

One of these camps was known to have a strong al-Qaida presence, so refugee processing was immediately shut down there, Smith said. …

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