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Exporting DNA crime-fighting expertise

ESR is exporting its DNA forensic expertise to Asia

Thailand has invested in a world leading New Zealand crime fighting system with the recent purchase of a DNA lab information management and databank system developed by ESR.

The system will manage the information needed to identify suspects or victims through matching of DNA extracted from crime scene samples. New Zealand's proven track record and expertise in DNA matching to solve crime including cases such as Theresa McCormack, clinched the deal. The Thai Central Institute of Forensic Science looked at systems in the US, UK and Australia before purchasing New Zealand's forensic laboratory systems.

ESR staff are working in Thailand this week helping set up the DNA laboratory. This will include a Laboratory Information Management System and the foundations for a sophisticated DNA database system.

Thai authorities plan to set up a National DNA database to hold the profiles of all prisoners and juvenile offenders completing their sentences. . The nation's forensic institute will start collecting the fingerprints and DNA of 25,000 prisoners who are to be given a Royal pardon in August this year on the Thai Queen's 72nd birthday

ESR's Jacob De Fainter said ESR was looking forward to working with the Thai Central Institute of Forensic Science in developing their DNA database capacity.

"This project follows on from crime scene investigation and science training provided in Thailand in 2003. ESR staff are quite excited about being able to help other countries improve their forensic systems. It is great to be able to blend the skills of forensic practitioners with IT to provide world-class products and services. Now that ESR's capabilities are getting known outside New Zealand, we expect to start several other projects in the next 12 months."

ESR has also provided training in DNA analysis to forensic laboratory staff in the Philippines and expects to provide further training in crime scene investigation and forensic laboratory techniques in Thailand as well as other countries.


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