Guyana’s DNA testing capacity further boosted with $50.5 million approved by Committee of Supply for procurement of new machine.

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Guyana’s DNA testing shortcomings are likely to come to an end with the approval of $50.5 million by the Committee of Supply for the provision of additional resources to support the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory, including the procurement of a DNA analysis workflow system.

Since 2017, the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory has been equipped with a DNA testing machine that has been unable to provide an accurate analysis of samples needed to investigate criminal activities. The company the machine was purchased from was bought by another company, and the supply of reagents for the machine was later discontinued. As a result, law enforcement authorities were forced pay the exorbitant costs to send some samples to Miami for testing.  However, in May, a new equipment was purchased to address the growing backlog of samples that exists.

Home Affairs Minister, Robeson Benn told the National Assembly on Monday that the new equipment processes some 200 samples in one session, compared to the twenty-eight samples processed by the previous machine. This system is expected to be operationalized in the next few months.

“We expect that within five or six months, once it’s properly up and running, we would be on top of the situation in respect of having a bid to do proper sampling, proper testing, and provide the right analytical results at more than 90 percent in relation to all types of DNA samples,” the Minister noted.

Minister Benn further disclosed that five DNA Analysts will soon be trained and certified to operate the new DNA testing machine. Additional people are also expected to be trained in DNA analysis in an effort to reduce the backlog of DNA samples.

Last month, Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum said that there was a backlog of in excess of twenty samples that needed to undergo DNA testing.


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