The Government Chemist has announced that it has acquired labs for DNA testing and analysis for forensic and criminal investigations.

The labs will be based on in the department’s Nairobi headquarters and each of its Mombasa and Kisumu branches. The three centres now have the 3500xL Genetic Analyzer which will be used for DNA analysis for crime detection and parentage testing.

Speaking after unveiling the machine in Nairobi, Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiangi exuded confidence that Kenya has now joined various first-world countries offering top-tier forensic services and DNA technology for disaster victim identification (DVI) and collection of evidence for adjudication in criminal cases and arbitration of disputed paternity.

“We have been trying to find the best solutions to our challenges in criminal investigation. It is no secret that we have some fairly sensitive but unresolved murder cases in our country, and the acquisition of this machine is one of the first steps towards the achievement of our objectives in this field,” Dr. Matiangi said.

The equipment will analyse several DNA samples on evidential material collected from crime scenes. It is also customized with an ultramodern system of components and software that maximizes information recovery even from degraded DNA samples. This will ultimately expedite access to justice through quick conviction of criminals and, equally importantly, exoneration of innocent individuals.

The Government Chemist has also announced plans to buy more equipment and set up another in the Northern part of the country.

The 3500xL Genetic Analyzer is the first genetic analyzers designed with a specific feature set and workflow for the Human Identification (DNA) application. It is a product of Thermo Fisher Scientific, an American biotechnology product development company located in Waltham, Massachusetts. It has features such as:

• Increased Consistency – Reduced signal variation with factory standardization and optional in-lane normalization
• Real-Time Data Quality Assessment – On instrument data evaluation features provide rapid identification and re-injection of samples requiring additional processing
• Improved Thermal Control – Smaller oven design and improved door seal for more consistent data migration
• HID Specific Workflow – Pre-configured for Applied Biosystems® amplification kits to simplify run setup and software navigation
• Effortless Consumable Installation – Convenient one-time use consumable packaging
• Consumable Tracking with RFID Technology – On-instrument, real-time monitoring of consumable consumption and expiration
• Enhanced Throughput – Faster data generation with 8 or 24 capillary arrays and shorter run times
• Improved Polymer Pump Design – Reduced waste and fewer bubbles for better data quality
• Simplified Instrument Installation & Operation – New solid-state laser eliminates need for high voltage wiring and external venting
• Streamlined Instrument Maintenance – HID specific performance check and maintenance scheduling tools
• Data Chain of Custody – Controlled access and tracking through Security, Audit and eSig features