Lok Sabha passes DNA Technology Bill

The lower house of India's Parliament on January 8 passed ‘The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill - 2019’ that seeks to bring efficiency in the usage of DNA technology, inturn encouraging innovation in the space

January 8, 2019

The Bill has been formulated recognizing the need for regulation of the application of DNA technology, for establishing identity of missing persons, victims, offenders and under trials

Government of India has focused on boosting the country's biotechnology sector, which is divided into five segments - bio-pharma, bio-services, bio-agri, bio-industrial and bioinformatics

Ties have been established with a number of countries and international agencies with a view to furthering collaborative research, development and skill development in biotechnology

Riding on strong research capabilities and knowledge ecosystem, India now ranks among the top 12 biotech destinations globally and is the third within the Asia Pacific region in biotechnology

In a landmark decision, the Lok Sabha, or the lower house of the Indian Parliament, on January 8 passed “The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill – 2019”. The Bill has been formulated recognizing the need for regulation of the application of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) technology, for establishing identity of missing persons, victims, offenders, under trials and unknown deceased persons. The purpose of this Bill is to expand the application of DNA-based forensic technologies to support and strengthen the justice delivery system of the country. The Bill is expected to boost innovation in the space of DNA technology.

The use of DNA based technologies for solving crimes, and to identify missing persons, is well recognized across the world. By providing for the mandatory accreditation and regulation of DNA labs, the Bill seeks to ensure that with the proposed expanded use of this technology in this country, there is also the assurance that the DNA test results are reliable, and furthermore that the data remain protected from misuse or abuse in terms of the privacy rights of citizens. Riding on strong research capabilities and knowledge ecosystem, India now ranks among the top 12 biotech destinations globally and is the third within the Asia Pacific region.

The key components of this Bill include: establishment of a DNA Regulatory Board; accreditation of DNA laboratories undertaking DNA testing, analysing; establishment of the National and Regional DNA Data Banks, as envisaged in the Bill, will assist in forensic investigations. This will aid in scientific upgradation and streamlining of the DNA testing activities in the country with inputs from the DNA Regulatory Board which would be set up for the purpose. Encouraging innovation in employing DNA technologies for forensic analysis in law-enforcement, this legislation will prove of immense value in emergency management situations.