DNA Technology Now Helping to Fight Crime in Sweden

Burglar with a crowbar

(DGIwire) — In a perfect world, calories wouldn’t count, money would grow on trees and crime wouldn’t exist. In reality, we have to watch what we eat, work for our money and live in a world where criminals abound. Some roam the streets; others lurk in offices, homes or in front of computers worldwide. Fortunately, those in law enforcement work tirelessly to target criminals and protect property. New scientific advancements have also given us cutting-edge technology to aid law enforcement in tracking down criminals.

One unique and highly effective technology uses botanical (plant) DNA to place indelible markers on critical assets all over the world. Applied DNA Sciences, based in Stony Brook, NY, provides DNA-based anti-counterfeiting technology and advanced security products. Using DNA as its forensic foundation, Applied DNA creates security solutions for brand protection, supply chain security, item provenance and theft. SigNature® DNA consists of full, double-stranded plant DNA.

Applied DNA Sciences is now in the process of developing a DNA-protected community in Stockholm, Sweden in collaboration with Stockholm police. The trial project is intended to make it much easier to find and convict criminals. In the collaboration, 500 houses in Tyreso, outside Stockholm, will have some household items marked with the anti-theft product DNAnet®, branded in Sweden as smartDNA. Should police recover these stolen items, the smartDNA mark will link the criminal directly to the crime. Items marked with smartDNA can also be scanned instantly with an ultraviolet light, which indicates the presence of smartDNA through a bright fluorescence, not unlike the use of luminal to detect traces of blood in other kinds of criminal cases. All local police cars will be fitted with the ultraviolet lights.

In the UK, companies often use boxes to move large amounts of cash. A number of these companies have signed on with Applied DNA Sciences to have these boxes marked with DNA technology. If the cash is stolen, SigNature DNA will be released when the boxes are opened, marking the bills. Each cash case contains a unique DNA mark, enabling law enforcement agencies to forensically link suspects and valuables back to the individual cash box and crime.

Another variation of the technology is in the form of an anti-intrusion “security smoke,” called DNA Fog, manufactured by Denmark-based Smoke Cloak A/S. If a burglar tries to intrude on a protected space, DNA-laced smoke fills the room. Even if the criminals flee—the usual response—the mark will remain on the clothes and human skin until the skin cells completely regrow, which normally takes about a month.

The Stockholm trial follows on the heels of a similar project in London, protecting 4,000 homes.

“We are excited about the Stockholm experiment, to show the world just how powerful our DNA technology is,” said James A. Hayward, Ph.D., President and CEO of Applied DNA Sciences. “This year, we plan to continue expanding our work with global and domestic law enforcement agencies, the military, and private sector companies with high-value assets.”

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