A New Zealand hub for sector generated content

Portable DNA analyser will shave days off police investigations

NEWS RELEASE: Wellington, 7 June 2013 


Forensic DNA testing could be sped up in New Zealand following the successful trial of NEC’s Portable DNA Analyser at the institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd’s (ESR) Auckland facility. The device enables DNA to be analysed at the crime scene rather than sent to a laboratory, significantly reducing the time taken to identify suspects.

The trials have just been completed by a team of NEC and ESR scientists, including global DNA expert Professor Minoru Asogawa, NEC’s DNA Project Director. Tests included mouth swab samples, blood stains and DNA mixtures in the laboratory. Testing was also carried out in the field to simulate crime scene conditions.

“We tested the device to better understand how it can be used in New Zealand to get the fastest identification of people involved in crimes, whilst maintaining the same level of quality and accuracy of traditional laboratory testing. This is the first phase of testing to ensure that the results are the same as those we’d get in the lab. Early results are very encouraging but more research and testing is required to evaluate the potential for future use of the device in New Zealand,” says ESR Forensic Development Manager, Bjorn Sutherland.

The trial has allowed ESR’s crime scene and DNA experts to get hands on experience with the latest technology in DNA analysis to see how it would transform forensic science, both in New Zealand and world-wide.

The Portable DNA Analyser is a laboratory on a chip, undertaking full DNA extraction, amplification and separation processes in less than an hour at the crime scene. Only the size of a small suitcase, the DNA analyser is easily operated by police on the scene instead of waiting for specialist crime scene investigators and scientists to arrive. Compared to the 8-9 hours DNA analysis currently takes, as well as the time taken to transport the sample to the laboratory, the potential for the device to speed up police investigations is clear.

NEC Corporation of Japan developed the device, in partnership with the University of Tokyo and several international technology companies. This field trial is the first outside of Japan and forms part of ESR’s Future Crime Scene Research Project.

General Manager Leonard Dench says, “NEC is excited to be working with ESR, a world renowned research institute. By working together to further develop the DNA Analyser, we are combining New Zealand’s reputation for innovation with world-leading Japanese technology. Together we will significantly reduce the time it takes to solve crimes.”

Following further trials, the portable DNA Analyser is expected to commence commercial production in 2015.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Press Contact at NEC New Zealand:
Mr Leonard Dench
General Manager, NEC New Zealand

Ph: 04 381 1111
Email: leonard.dench@nec.co.nz

Press Contact at ESR:
Mr Mark Dittmer
Communications Manager, ESR
Ph: 027 702 6100


About NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. By providing a combination of products and solutions that cross utilise the company’s experience and global resources, NEC’s advanced technologies meet the complex and ever-changing needs of its customers. NEC brings more than 100 years of expertise to technological innovations to empower people, businesses and society.

For more information, visit NEC @ http://www.nec.com

About NEC in New Zealand

Since originally supplying technology to New Zealand in the 1960s, NEC New Zealand is a leading solutions and service provider of IT and network, telecommunications and identity solutions. With innovation at the heart of the organisation, NEC New Zealand’s commitment to quality, reliability and value has seen it through more than 50 years of innovations in New Zealand. NEC’s state-of-the-art technologies are backed by local technical expertise and are used in various creative applications to enhance the lives of the people in New Zealand every day, from connecting telephone calls to sorting mail items, from providing timely updates via diverse digital signage networks to empowering law enforcement agencies with biometric technologies. For more information visit www.nec.co.nz

NEC is a registered trademark of NEC Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Other product or service marketing mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners. ©2013 NEC Corporation.

About ESR

ESR, the Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited, is a government owned New Zealand Crown Research Institute. Our mission is to protect people and their environment through science.

ESR provides science advice and services to government agencies, local authorities and the private sector. We are:

  • sole provider of forensic services to the New Zealand Police
  • principal science advisor to the Ministry of Health
  • science provider to the Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand Customs, Medsafe and Department of Corrections
  • science advisor for local authorities, industry organisations, and the private sector.

ESR’s scientists attend crime scenes and analyse forensic samples, which includes DNA analysis. For more information visit www.esr.cri.nz

Portable DNA analyser will shave days off police investigations

+ Text Size -
Original generation time 2.4436 seconds. Cache Loaded in: 0.0350 seconds.