Cook County Board Approves Rapid DNA System for Medical Examiner’s Office

Technology to dramatically reduce identification time

The Cook County Board of Commissioners approved funding today for a rapid DNA system for the County’s Medical Examiner’s Office. While it currently takes the Office eight months to more than a year to identify a decedent via DNA, the new system will produce DNA identification results in under two hours.

“Our ability to effectively manage cases where DNA identification is necessary will now be greatly enhanced,” said Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar. “This technology will help to bring closure to families here in Cook County and across the country and would be critical during a mass casualty incident as well.”

The ANDE Rapid DNA system will be housed at the Medical Examiner’s Office and allows staff to process a DNA swab in as little as 90 minutes. These results will be used internally and in the future could be uploaded to national databases including the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). ANDE’s Rapid DNA system has received National DNA Index System approval from the FBI.

The Board approved $190,500 which covers costs of the system and one year of support. The Office received funding for the system through the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant.

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