Emerging Genomic Revolution in Security

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Emerging Genomic Revolution in Security

As explained in the December 2017 issue of Trends, research shows that by 2022, counterfeiting of tangible products will to drain up to $1.8 trillion a year from the legitimate global economy and put 5.4 million legitimate jobs at risk. In that issue, we discussed the economic and public safety implications, and we examined several approaches to addressing this enormous problem.

An important emerging technology not examined at that time was genomics. Genomics is the science of reading and interpreting the genetic sequences encoded in DNA. The genomic technology developed over the past three decades can be applied to very long sequences like those that describe humans and other complex organisms, as well as to short DNA fragments. These methods can also sequence synthetic DNA containing nucleotides other than Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine, and Thymine. When applied to identification, genomic technology can be readily optimized to meet the diverse requirements of product manufacturers and service providers, worldwide.

One of the first applications of genomics to authentication was in the area of sports memorabilia. Within that niche a firm called Professional Sports Authentication, or PSA, is the leader. The PSA business model combines their expertise in determining the authenticity and quality of trading cards, baseballs, or other items, with a DNA tagging process which ensures that the item “authenticated” in the lab is the item sold to subsequent owners. A primary aspect of this “insurance” is an enforceable guarantee of authenticity. By ensuring authenticity, the PSA process lowers risks and increases liquidity in the sports memorabilia market.

However, this application is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to genomic authentication. Outside the sport memorabilia space, the innovation leader is a company called Applied DNA Sciences, or ADNAS (www.adnas.com, NASDAQ: APDN). The authentication technology and product platform developed by ADNAS provides a range of end-to-end industry solutions for DNA tagging, testing and tracking. At the heart of the ADNAS platform, is their patented technology for DNA manufacturing without the need for fermentation. Their methods use an iterative approach that doubles the amount of DNA with every cycle, called Polymerase Chain Reaction or PCR. Until ADNAS, PCR had been and remains the method of choice for detection of DNA as opposed to DNA production...

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