DNA analyzer fits in suitcase, works in 25 minutes flat

In the paranoid future of the genetically discriminatory security state, your life will be defined by your DNA, and access will be controlled by machines that instantly read samples of your genetic code to verify your identiy. When will this all kick in? It won't be long now, thanks to NEC's new DNA analyzer that can brand you as an in-valid in under 25 minutes.

The current generation of NEC's DNA analyzer takes about an hour to extract DNA from samples of blood or tissue, amplify the DNA for analysis, and then separate out the DNA strands and process them. Its next generation machine, which should be on the market by 2014, can do all of this in about 25 minutes, thanks to computer chips that can run complex biochemical processes that used to require an entire lab.

This machine won't just be fast, it'll be small, too, able to fit in a suitcase (a big suitcase, but still) and weighing less than 80 pounds. You'll be able to plug it into the cigarette lighter socket in your car to use it on the go, and it won't take any training at all. Simply obtain a blood sample or cheek swab, stick it into the machine, and in less than half an hour you'll know who it came from, thanks to a growing number of DNA databases that you should certainly not be concerned about, citizen. The cost for all this? Just $120,000, easily affordable for astronaut testing centers.

25 minutes isn't as fast as the split-second DNA analyzers that you see in Gattaca, of course, but what's significant here is that the technology has improved from an hour to 25 minutes in just a year. It's not hard to imagine that analysis time might be down to about 10 minutes by 2015, and by 2020, it'll be in the seconds range. With analysis price likely to see a corresponding decrease, it's a sure thing that DNA analysis will be a lot more common: the only question is just what, exactly, it'll be used for when it becomes a little too fast, easy, and cheap.

Via PC World

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