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New Software Can Verify Someone's Identity by Their DNA in Minutes


Researcher Sophie Zaaijer uses the MinION portable DNA sequencer.

Columbia University and New York Genome Center researchers have developed a new method to quickly and accurately identify people and cell lines from their DNA.

Credit: New York Genome Center

Researchers at Columbia University and the New York Genome Center have developed a new method to quickly and accurately identify people and cell lines from their DNA, and its most immediate use could be to identify mislabeled or contaminated cell lines in cancer experiments.

"We're especially excited about the potential to improve cell authentication in cancer research and potentially speed up the discovery of new treatments," says Columbia University professor Yaniv Erlich.

The software is designed to run on the MinION, an instrument that pulls in strands of DNA via its microscopic pores and reads out sequences of nucleotides.

The new method is a two-step process: first the researchers use the MinION to sequence random strings of DNA, from which they select individual variants, and then they use a Bayesian algorithm to randomly compare this mix of variants with corresponding variants in other genetic profiles.

This new technique could be used as an inexpensive cell-authentication tool in experimental research.

From Columbia News
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