Mudita Bajracharya

Kathmandu, January 25:

The National Forensic Laboratory (NFL) will begin conducting DNA tests from May.

At present, it is conducting trials to make sure that the results will be accurate when it starts conducting DNA tests officially.

Every week, 3-4 DNA tests are conducted and checked to make sure that the results are accurate. Says Jiwaan Rijal, acting executive director, NFL, “Since small variations can alter the result,we need to conduct a lost of tests to be perfect.” “The NFL will offically begin conducting DNA tests from May.” The NFL is under immense pressure to conduct DNA tests to solve mysteries shrouding gang rapes and pregnancy resulting from pre-marital affairs, among others. Says Rijal, “Every day we receive many cases for DNA tests. Everyone is hoping for accurate results and everyone is curious about the tests. We are taking time to meet expectations.”

Activist, lawyers and victims heaved a sigh of relief when the government decided to set up a DNA ( DeoxyrioNucleic Acid) analyser machine to solve the mystery over the human identification, maternity and paternity and criminal identification in October.

Though DNA analyser machine has been set up, variations have been observed in the results due to the setting up of the equipment and the laboratory environment. Even with the same equipment, practioners may obtain different results under different circumstances.

“The preparation of database of Nepali population to analyse DNA will be the next important phase.” Says Shanta Thapaliya of the Legal Aid and Consultancy Centre, “DNA test holds significance, especially in cases of sexual abuses, where the victim is pregnant or has given birth. The foetus’s or the child’s DNA profile can be compared to that of the mother and the suspect to determine paternity.”

Though all types of DNAs have same chemical structure, the sequencing of base pairs is different. There are millions of base pairs in each person’s DNA and every person has a different sequence. Small numbers of sequences of DNA, which are known to vary among individuals, are analysed to get certain probability of a match.