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A suspect was arrested for a minor crime in the United Kingdom last month, and due to local laws, he was swabbed for a DNA reference sample.

Using a device called the RapidHIT System, the DNA profile was generated, he was connected to a serious sexual assault case, charged, and kept behind bars without bail – all in less than two hours.

The RapidHIT system by IntegenX has been available for two years – but the company announced a newer version today that they say is half the cost, and even faster.

Read more: Validation and Incorporation of RapidHIT Technology into Routine Forensic DNA Casework

“Very few people have seen this yet,” said Robert Schueren, the president and CEO of the company, speaking to Forensic Magazine from the debut of the system at the 26th conference of the International Society for Forensic Genetics in Krakow, Poland.

“The country needs this – the world needs this,” he added.

The price has been cut in half – to about $150 for a cartridge, with bulk pricing trending lower than that, Schueren said. The terminal is also about a quarter size of its previous version, he added.

The technology is the exact same as the extensive laboratory processes that are currently used by all law enforcement. However, it self-contains the sample in the cartridge, eliminating chain-of-custody concerns, and eliminating the need for a clean room. Everything is automated, integrated, and miniaturized – streamlining for the same results, Schueren said.

“We just make it all faster,” he told Forensic.

The first-generation system was used by almost 100 agencies in 12 countries, the CEO added. However, the push for the second-generation is underway to establish its use farther and wider than ever before.

It’s already receiving enthusiastic reviews.

“As one of the investigator sites for the RapidHIT ID, we are excited about this new instrument format and its facile and expeditious capabilities for generating a DNA profile,” said Bruce Budowle, executive director of the Institute of Applied Genetics at the University of North Texas Health Center. “The DNA profiles generated with the Rapid HIT ID were comparable with those generated with the standard current laboratory-based platform.”

The quicker turnaround on DNA samples could free up laboratories to make headway on other testing – notably that of the nationwide rape-kit backlog, said some advocates.

“Having the ability to provide communities with such a simple and cost-effective tool to generate a forensic DNA profile at the point of action could ultimately play a role in helping reduce our nation’s backlog of DNA samples,” said Natasha Alexenko, a victims’ rights leader with Natasha’s justice Project. “We can now imagine a day when a suspect’s DNA is tested while in custody, making our communities safer and freeing valuable lab resources to focus on complex DNA tests such as rape kits.”

The new system cannot be used itself for complex samples, like those rape kits which likely have two or more DNA profiles involved. However, the time saved on single samples could clear the way for other forensic testing, some experts said.

In June, the House Judiciary Committee discussed the Rapid DNA Act of 2015 on Capitol Hill. Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said rapid results could benefit criminal investigations nationwide.

“While Rapid DNA cannot be used at this time for forensic analysis, such as rape kits, I believe that using Rapid DNA for identification purposes could help clear up state labs to focus their efforts on forensic analysis, including rape kits testing,” Goodlatte reportedly said.

DNA testing of criminal suspects currently varies by state. Some 30 states and the federal government allow DNA samples to be taken of the accused at the time of being arrested and charged, but before conviction or acquittal, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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