Human Identification an Emerging opportunity for Scientific and Analytical Instrumentation Industry

Human identification plays a significant role in forensic science, paternity testing, disaster victim identification, and anthropology. A number of factors are propelling the growth of this market, such as the expansion of the U.S. national DNA database, provision of government funding for human identification by DNA analysis, rise in awareness of new technologies, technological advancements, and the need for cost- and time-effective forensic procedures. Other notable contributors that will spur the growth of human identification market are governmental focus on the creation/expansion of DNA databases, and the increasing significance of human identification in law enforcement.

Forensic science is the largest application area for human identification, and is expected to grow at a high CAGR in the next five years. Forensic science deals with the collection and analysis of information to identify individuals involved in criminal acts. In recent years, the incidence of crimes, such as robbery, murder and rape, has increased substantially. In 2012, an estimated 1,214,462 violent crimes took place in the U.S., which is 0.7% higher than 2011’s figure. (Source: Crime Reports, 2012 by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)). The investigation of so many crimes demands the use of advanced forensic tools to ascertain the identities of those involved and the details of said crimes. Such identification is usually performed by analyzing fingerprints, teeth, and bones. The most-widely used analysis technique for human identification is the study of DNA, using blood stains, tissues, and hair and skin samples.

Many leading players offer a wide range of products for human identification, because of the market’s high growth potential. Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. (U.S.) holds the largest share in the human identification products market. Promega Corporation (U.S.) and Qiagen (Netherlands) are other leading players in the market.  Thermo Fisher Scientific’s leadership can be attributed to its exhaustive product portfolio. The company, in February 2013, acquired Life Technologies, a leading player in the life sciences business. Life Technologies was the only supplier of the equipment necessary to conduct capillary electrophoresis, an analytical technique used for human identification. This acquisition helped Thermo Fisher Scientific to become a leader in the human identification market by adding Life Technologies’ products to its portfolio. Thermo Fisher Scientific is innovation-centric, and invests heavily in R&D for maintaining its market share. The company maintains a strong relationship with its customers, which helps to maintain its leadership. It also holds over 5,000 patents.

The use of NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) and rapid DNA analysis technologies is poised to witness high growth in the coming years because of the rising demand for accurate and quick DNA analyses. The high growth of the NGS segment is likely to be driven by its various advantages over other sequencing methods and its time-effectiveness. Through NGS, the entire human genome can be sequenced in one day. Furthermore, companies and the academia are collaborating for research in DNA analysis and using NGS platforms for research purposes.

Rapid DNA analysis technology enables samples to be analyzed in real-time and at the crime scene itself. It can produce a DNA profile in less than 90 minutes. Therefore, this technology is expected to see increased use by the police, as it does not require technical expertise. This is a major reason for the high growth of the human identification market.

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