ILMO Planning DNA Database for Workers in Risky Jobs

The time and money saved through identifying suspects through DNA evidence greatly outweighs the costs.The time and money saved through identifying suspects through DNA evidence greatly outweighs the costs.

Iran Legal Medicine Organization (ILMO) has plans to collect DNA samples from people working in hazardous and risky jobs. 

 “DNA profiling is usually for two main reasons: to help in criminal investigations, and to identify a person after death in an accident,” said Ahmad Shojaee, head of the organization on Wednesday. 

So far a genetic database to collect DNA samples from criminals has been created.

“Given the fact that the incidence of man-made and natural disasters is high in the country, the ILMO has decided to collect DNA samples of workers in dangerous jobs such as firefighters, IRCS rescuers, prison guards, etc,” IRNA quoted him as saying. 

The measure can facilitate police investigation after an accident or disaster. 

In response to a query about the costs of maintaining such a database, he said the time and money saved through identifying suspects speedily through DNA evidence “greatly outweighs the costs.”

The plan has been notified to the relevant organizations (including Tehran Municipality), and some of their employees will be undertaking a simple swab test soon, he said. 

Last week, a memorandum of understanding was signed between ILMO and the Passive Defense Organization of Iran (PDOI) by which the two sides were committed to integrate their diagnostic labs into a stronger network through exchange of information. 

The MoU was signed at ILMO branch in Kahrizak District, Rey County in Tehran Province where over 30% of all legal medicine diagnostic tests are undertaken. 

 Criminal Identification 

Currently, over 60 countries have genetic databases. According to global figures, in countries with the highest number of DNA profiles created for criminals, searching the DNA database to find a profile match helps identify a suspect in around 60% of cases.

In Iran, the first phase of the plan to collect DNA samples from prisoners was conducted in March 2016.  According to the ILMO website, since then more than 2,000 samples have been collected and profiles created. 

 “According to our estimates, 50,000 more genetic profiles will be created and recorded in the genetic database by the end of the next fiscal year in March 2018. The databases will continue to expand annually,” Shojaee said.

A DNA profile is a small set of DNA variations that is very likely to be different in unrelated individuals.

He further said genetic banks to help check crimes have been established in six provinces of Tehran, Alborz, Khorasan Razavi, Isfahan, Fars and Khuzestan, and 50 people have been recruited to collect DNA samples of criminals. 

Genetic information database helps check criminals from committing repeated offenses. Statistics show that 12% of criminals resort to committing crimes within a year of the previous offense and 48% repeat their crimes after a gap of five years. 

First developed and used in 1984, DNA profiling is used in criminal investigation and to identify a person after death. DNA profiling is a forensic technique used to identify individuals by characteristics of their DNA. 

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