HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

US software to speed up DNA profile matching

Press Trust of India, PTI  Hyderabad, June 26, 2014
First Published: 15:58 IST(26/6/2014) | Last Updated: 16:04 IST(26/6/2014)

A city-based forensic lab will soon install software developed by the US probe agency FBI that would substantially reduce the time taken for matching of DNA profiles of victims of large-scale disasters, with better analysis.


The software, which was used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to identify the 9/11 World Trade Center attack victims, is planned to be first put to use in India on the victims of last year’s Uttarakhand tragedy, whose identification process by DNA profiling by the Center for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) is set to get a boost vis-a-vis the required analysis.

The software named ‘CODIS’ (Combined DNA Index System) would be operationalised by the first week of August by the state-run CDFD, in line to become the country’s first forensic lab for speedy matching of DNA profiles of victims of mass disasters, a senior official said.

“We are in the process of acquiring and operationalising the software developed by FBI which will enable speedy matching of DNA profiles of victims of large-scale disasters. India doesn’t have such kind of software and we are getting it next month and will be using it for the first time to identify victims of Uttarakhand natural calamity (in which thousands are presumed dead),” CDFD director J Gowrishankar said.

Compared to the laborious and time-consuming manual procedure of matching one by one, this software does multiple comparisons in quick time and even gives conclusion whether the victims are parents-child or siblings.

A two-member team of FBI’s DNA Lab wing will come to the city next month and install the software on CDFD computers. They will train the centre’s DNA examiners on its usage during a three-day workshop. CDFD and FBI had signed an MoU early this year for the acquisition of ‘CODIS’.

“FBI had used the software to identify victims of 9/11 World Trade Center attack victims. The software would be used for the first time in India to match data of DNA profiles of 400 victims with blood samples of close relatives of over 5,000 missing individuals of last year’s Uttarakhand tragedy,” he said.

more from Dehradun

‘Central aid to state rose in past 3 yrs, but growth slow’

The annual assistance from the Centre to the state has increased in last few financial years, according to official statistics, even though the Uttarakhand government has been firing salvos at the central government over it.
Two days ago, the state Congress unit demanded `4,000 crore financial assistance from the centre.
According to the central statistics office figures, the Centre released `4883.74 crores for the state in 2011-12. It released `4717.68 crores in 2012-2013. And in 2013-2014, it increased the assistance to `5418.60 crores.

Uttarakhand is one of the 11 Himalayan states which enjoy special category status besides Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
These special category states have to make part payment to the centre in lieu of getting funds for centrally-sponsored schemes.
Interestingly, on an average, central assistance has been substantial for the state though it has not helped Uttarakhand in increasing its Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) which is total monetary value of goods and services produced by a state economy in a given year.
“GSDP depends on various factors like rate of savings and investments and overall business atmosphere. But that doesn’t mean the state does not need help,” said Surender Kumar, media in-charge for CM adding that the state needs more funds.
The figures for Uttarakhand GSDP growth at constant (2004-5) price (as on 01-08-2014) was 9.36% in 2011-12. It was 5.61% in 2012-13 and 5.65% in 2013-2014.
Sometime back Planning Commission constituted a committee to study development in hill states arising from management of forest land with special focus on creation of infrastructure, livelihood and human development.
The report of the committee was discussed in Internal Planning Committee meeting held in February this year.
A Planning Commission note claimed that IPC broadly endorsed the recommendations of the committee. The report has also been forwarded to states for further inputs.

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