DNA is the single most important molecule in living cells and contains all the information that determines who we are and what we look like. Stretched end to end, we have about nine million kilometres of DNA in our bodies - that’s enough to reach to the moon and back 13 times!
SCIENCE is playing an ever increasing role in the fight against crime, which has resulted in DNA analysis replacing fingerprinting as the modern method of forensic crime detection.
A new product that is using DNA principles to help police foil both property and office theft is SelectaDNA, a water-based adhesive containing a unique identity signature that runs through the liquid, as does human DNA through blood.
Marketed by Selectamark Security Systems, SelectaDNA has recently been awarded a ‘Secured By Design’ license from ACPO CPI (Association of Chief Police Officers Crime Prevention Initiatives).
SelectaDNA has already been used in police property marking schemes in places as far north as Stornaway in Scotland to Oakhampton in Devon.
It is also being used to mark expensive equipment in offices, where last year alone, property theft of items such as laptops, laser printers, DVD players, fine art, construction machinery and tools cost UK businesses at least £150 million.
Each bottle of SelectaDNA consists of a small brush and an adhesive containing UV tracer, microscopic dots and a unique DNA signature. SelectaDNA is built up of four distinct chemicals (A, T, C and G, for short). These four chemicals have two key sequences, whose identity must be known before the unique code sequence can be accessed. It is the sequence of the four chemicals within the DNA molecule which creates the unique and specific DNA string.
The product can be applied onto any “hard to get to” places on equipment, dries within a minute and is visible using an ultra violet lamp. However, on light coloured surfaces it is possible to see microdots which have also been introduced into the product. Each dot shows a serial number and the database telephone number which will enable the identification of a marked item.
One of the main advantages of using a marking product like SelectaDNA is that it is virtually impossible to remove traces of it and identification can be made from tiny specks the size of a pin head. The 15ml bottle can be used to mark up to 100 items, which can be applied in less than an hour. The product is also available in larger sizes for business or government purposes, where a commercial kit can mark 6,000 items.
Each purchase includes lifetime registration on Selectamark’s LPS 1224 database and a free-of-charge procedure for changing addresses. The product comes with optional warning stickers to mark individual items, or the outside of premises overtly.
Jim Brown, chairman of Selectamark, said: “SelectaDNA is an exciting new technology. We can now mark all valuable items of property, from antiques to laptops, safely, accurately, and at a very reasonable cost. There is no limit to expansion, and we can routinely make DNA unique to individual households. It is great to think that sophisticated scientific advances are now available to the general public, and can help them cut crime.”