Federal Help for DNA Backlog

August 19, 2003 -- Posted at 7:58 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark  --The state Crime Lab is getting some federal help handling its backlog of D-N-A samples. Supporters hope processing the samples will help investigators solve more crimes. A federal grant will pay for testing of about ten-thousand D-N-A samples.

They're being shipped to a private lab by October. The testing should wipe out the state Crime Lab's six-month backlog of samples awaiting analysis.

All the samples are from felons, not genetic evidence in court cases. Kermit Channell supervises the state's D-N-A database. He says his lab is backed up because scientists spend most of their time completing D-N-A tests for current cases. Once the samples are processed, Channell says, results are entered into the state database.

Then they can be compared with others in a database of D-N-A evidence in unsolved cases.

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