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A mother migrating from Honduras holds her 1-year-old child while surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol agents after illegally crossing the border Monday, June 25, 2018, near McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The “zero tolerance” border strategy by the Trump administration has separated more than 2,000 children from their families since April. Those kids need to be reunited with their parents in 14 days, according to a Tuesday federal court decision.

But getting the young migrants back in their right place is going to be difficult in such a short time, according to most experts. Genetic testing is seen as the most accurate way to get everybody back where they belong.

Some American companies have offered assistance and expertise to help make it happen, including some genomics and ancestry companies. But traditional models may push the reunifications back beyond the two-week mark, according to experts.

Thermo Fisher Scientific and its RapidHIT DNA testing technology is now under discussion—with what appears to be a unique ability to process STR paternity ancestry profiles in about 90 minutes.

The company has pledged $1 million—or whatever is needed to help organize the whiplash reunification effort, according to Thermo Fisher.

“We are in discussions with the U.S. government,” said Rosy Lee, vice president and general manager of human identification for Thermo Fisher Scientific.

“It’s very fast—I don’t know how else you could do it that quickly,” added Lee.

The benefits of the Rapid DNA would come to bear in several ways, she said.

The company is able to be on-site, deployed in the field, to as many locations as are needed.

The runs are completed in 90 minutes. And those samples can also be handed back to the test subjects, or simply destroyed—thereby ensuring privacy.

The data, connected by the company’s Rapid Link analysis software, will enhance security by establishing a separation between the sample collection and analysis, Lee added.

Overall, the key of speed and accuracy mean Rapid DNA would be important to a big societal undertaking, said Lee.

The scope—number of machines, and swabs, and personnel needed, plus the locations of deployment—has yet to be determined, but ThermoFisher said they want to make it happen, regardless.

“Our offer is certainly anything in our portfolio to help with this effort—whether it’s instruments, software, consumables, or services—we’re happy to work with the U.S. government in any way,” said Lee. “There’s a lot of different locations … we felt that deploying something in the field will be the easiest way to handle this.”

Other companies that have reportedly offered assistance to the humanitarian effort have been 23andMe and MyHeritage. The latter has pledged 5,000 free DNA test kits to the affected people.

The timeline for the federal decision how to proceed with the reunifications is unclear.

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