India May Soon Have a National DNA Database

by jeeg 16. September 2010 23:12

If their Parliament passes the DNA Profiling Bill, 2007, India will soon join countries such as the US and UK in creating a national DNA database.

"The bill, drafted and sent to all ministries and departments for their feedback, has been modified. The final version has been sent to the law ministry, which has sent it to the legal department for final drafting," says Dr J Gowrishankar, head of Laboratory of Bacterial Genetics and director, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD), which has been piloting the bill. "We are hoping it will be submitted to the cabinet in a few weeks."

Six regional laboratories — to be established in Kolkata, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Pune and Guwahati — will facilitate the exchange and comparison of forensic DNA profiles created from evidence gathered from crime investigations and convicts. The move to create the database is part of the 11th Plan and has a financial outlay of Rs 42.6 crore.

The role of the database would be to compile profiles of convicts, undertrials and suspects as well as from material obtained from crime scenes. "At present, India does not have a law that empowers the government to collect and store DNA profiles of convicts," says V K Kashyap, director of Directorate of Forensic Science, New Delhi. The DNA Profiling Bill, drafted by the department of biotechnology, will bridge this gap.



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