DNA dye packs

DNA dye packs

A Stony Brook-based DNA technology company has received a British "excellence in policing" award after one of its products helped secure criminal convictions in the robbery of a cash-transfer car, the company said.

Applied DNA Sciences Inc.  makes genetic markers used in exploding dye packets and other products.

One of the gene-laced dye packs had been installed in a cash box aboard a Loomis money transfer car robbed in 2008 in Lancashire, in the U.K. When the robbers opened the cash box the dye pack exploded and sprayed banknotes with DNA-carrying pigment. A robber later spent some of the money at a gas station and it was traced to suspects who were eventually convicted, reported a British newspaper, the Lancashire Telegraph.

In Britain the vehicles that transfer cash to and from banks aren’t armored, and the guards are unarmed. Loomis turned to the Stony Brook company for a deterrent technology, its SigNature DNA product, said Janice Meraglia, an Applied DNA Sciences spokeswoman. Each cash box gets a unique batch of DNA, allowing detectives to link a dye-stained banknote to a specific crime, she said.

The company is pleased to be honored by the U.K.’s National Policing Improvement Agency, Meraglia said. “It’s always great to be recognized for your contribution,” she said.

Made from plants, the company’s DNA "essentially cannot be copied...is instantly detectable with a handheld device...and can be forensically authenticated in the lab."

The DNA in the dye "helped send a cash-in-transit armed robbery gang to prison for 50 years,” the Lancashire paper reported.

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