SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Tuesday, we got a look at a DNA profiling machine in Savannah that is the first of its kind in Georgia.
Savannah State University recently acquired the machine through grant funding, and is now able to keep students on the forefront of the forensic technology.
Housed inside the Drew-Griffith Bulding, the RapidHIT DNA analysis machine is now training future forensic scientists on cutting edge technology that cuts DNA profiling time down exponentially. What would normally take several weeks to several months happens in a mere 90 minutes with this machine. It breaks down DNA from a single origin, like a cheek swab, and compares it to those in a federal database.
Right now, Georgia law doesn’t allow police to take DNA upon arrest, but if laws are created that do, it could benefit investigations in a number of ways.
“So, you can increase the rate at which you can capture a perpetrator that might be in the database and is a match, or you can release an innocent person which is of great value to the public,” said Dr. Karla-Sue Marriott, SSU. “That’s amazing when you think of what we do now in terms of getting DNA profiles. It takes up to two weeks, sometimes even more, possibly, and there’s a lot of backlog, so with this instrument, you can cut down on the backlog, and in 90 minutes, you have a DNA profile.”
Because the machine is the first of its kind in the state, Dr. Marriott says local law enforcement stands to benefit as well.
“We are ready to collaborate with law enforcement here, and we can share information, share training, share technology...even possibly write up grants,” she said.