Parabon NanoLabs to Build Revolutionary
Forensic System for the DOD

12 June 2012

Parabon NanoLabs has been awarded a contract to provide the U.S. Department of Defense with a revolutionary new forensics capability, namely, the ability to predict from a human DNA sample the physical traits of its source. The system, code-named SNAPSHOT, uses commercially available DNA processing equipment and can be deployed within any DNA processing lab, even those in theater. To date, the forensics community has used DNA as a mere biometric identifier, as though it contained no more information about an individual than a fingerprint or iris scan. However, with the advent of fast, low-cost sequencing technology, which has enabled the creation of large genotype-to-phenotype datasets, the possibility now exists to computationally mine the human genetic content of DNA for variants that predict physical traits. Having demonstrated the feasibility of trait prediction under a prior award, Parabon will now deliver a working SNAPSHOT prototype and demonstrate its performance on a select set of traits that includes, among others, eye color, hair color, skin color and face morphology.

Funding for this project is provided by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), via the agencies innovation research program.1 DTRA is the U.S. Department of Defense's official Combat Support Agency for countering weapons of mass destruction.

1 The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation's R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs. A company that receives SBIR funding is eligible for sole source grants and contracts with the Federal government for services and products used on, developed in or derived from the SBIR effort.

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For more information contact, 703.689.9689 x250