Creating ‘DNA Barcodes,’ Researchers Work to Speed up Forensic Analysis

One researcher, from MIT Lincoln Laboratory, a Department of Defense Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), is seeking to simplify and speed up forensic DNA comparisons bit by bit—literally. Darrell Ricke, Ph.D., is leading research at the lab that would reduce the time and computer power needed for DNA analysis, by encoding the millions of loci and alleles into units of computer data that can then be compared using basic logical commands. Two algorithms developed through Ricke’s research to make these comparisons—FastID and TachysSTR—earned Lincoln Lab one of its 10 R&D 100 awards this past November.