Lockheed Martin, Zygem debut slicing edge 'lab on a chip'

The companies will release their rapid DNA analysis platform this summer.

Soon a single chip will contain all that is needed to run a compact DNA laboratory, slashing the processing time needed for analysis.

Designed to speed up human identity testing, the rapid DNA analysis platform will be ready for a summer release when members of the forensic, homeland security and intelligence communities will be the first to test pre-production units, Lockheed Martin and Zygem Corp. announced jointly during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences on March 6.

Zygem, a company that collects microorganisms from extreme environments and markets the nucleic acid extraction solutions, has already designed a MicroLab unit. A combination of advanced microfluids and Zygem's acid isolation technology expedites the DNA identification process used in the device.

The companies unveiled a compact cartridge that is the foundation of their platform and said it also provides a less costly solution to time-consuming analysis methods.

The chip slices the identification process to under 90 minutes so it can be used in the field as well as in the lab, they said.

Lockheed Martin Corp., of Bethesda, Md., ranks No. 1 on Washington Technology’s 2011 Top 100 list of the largest federal government contractors.