ANDE - Homeland Security Solutions/Service Company

ANDE: Creating a Safer World by Accelerating DNA ID Processing

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James Davis, Chief Federal Office, AndeJames Davis, Chief Federal Officer
DNA testing is the gold standard for identity resolution and one reason why the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate unanimously passed The Rapid DNA Act of 2017. The act calls for DNA testing of arrestees in police booking stations, aiming to identify arrestees wanted in connection with rapes, murders, and other crimes while they are still in police custody. Rapid DNA testing has a profound potential to identify criminals and reduce the rate of crime, quickly. Set against this backdrop is ANDE, providing Rapid DNA as an automated, miniaturized, and portable human DNA identification system that accelerates DNA processing from taking months to less than two hours. The faster DNA results are available, the more they can impact critical military, forensic, homeland security, and intelligence decisions. “The Rapid DNA Act requires NDIS approval of Rapid DNA Systems to be used in police booking stations, and ANDE is the first system to receive this approval,” extols James Davis, the Chief Federal Officer for ANDE.

ANDE’s Rapid DNA equipment processes a DNA sample in 90 minutes. An onboard software package automatically analyzes a profile for matching purposes or use for kinship verification. The equipment’s automated process removes the potential for human error or biases, as can occur when human analysts are required to use their own judgement to evaluate results. Using a robust expert system software, ANDE has removed the need for highly trained scientific analysts to evaluate the DNA profile. The software is irrefutable following algorithms tested and validated through the FBI. “Leading forensic laboratories tested more than 2,000 samples, and the ANDE system successfully produced accurate, reliable, reproducible, and robust results without manual processing,” states Davis. ANDE has paid close attention to privacy concerns while developing Rapid DNA. For instance, the equipment’s samples include a tracking mechanism, a built-in RFID chip that tracks the sample through the process.

ANDE efficiently answers the need to reduce crime, exonerate the innocent, monitor borders, and reunite families

The samples lock into the system to prevent cross-contamination, and all DNA is destroyed during processing.

This innovative solution has applications in the fields of law enforcement, military & counter-terrorism, government & immigration, and rape & sexual assault cases. For instance, Rapid DNA can quickly and accurately verify claimed family units migrating across borders helping to prevent trafficking of children as well as identifying victims of disasters such as that occurred in the California wildfires of 2018.

ANDE was incorporated in 2004 in Greater Boston, based on research conducted at MIT’s Whitehead Institute, and in 2009, ANDE was awarded the contract for a competitive R&D program sponsored by an association of federal agencies comprising the DoD, DBI, and DHS. This program led to the development of Rapid DNA. Ready to respond when disaster strikes, Rapid DNA’s “swab in – profile out” method processes a DNA sample in 90 minutes.

As a course of action, ANDE first ensures they understand their clients’ mission and then informs them of the features of their technology. Often a demonstration to provide clients with hands-on experience with the technology helps further the clients’ mission.

Davis mentions how in May, ANDE partnered with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to test more than 130 claimed family units in two high migration locations of the U.S. ANDE adapted to the locations and requirements of the agency and integrated their technology seamlessly into the process ICE had developed to confirm fraud. Rapid DNA testing identified 30 percent fraud rates among the families examined, and children were rescued from exploitation.

ANDE’s successful pilot programs are expanding into programs of record. The company has the agility to get their technology into the hands of the authorities that need it and the ability to collaborate with them constructively. Undoubtedly, “ANDE efficiently answers the need to reduce crime, exonerate the innocent, monitor borders, and reunite families,” concludes Davis.