Defense Industry Fights Electronic Counterfeits With DNA Technology

FORT BELVOIR, Va., Jan. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Defense Logistics Agency is working with commercial manufacturers and independent distributors to determine whether DNA marking could prevent counterfeit parts from entering the military supply system.

Altera Corporation, a microcircuit manufacturer, and Applied DNA Sciences completed a six-month, DLA-sponsored pilot program last year that proved botanical DNA can be used to authenticate microcircuit chips.

“In this limited demonstration, we wanted to show that microchips could be marked during the production process, which includes high heat and other stressors, and that those marks could later be read,” said Chris Metz, director of the Technical and Quality Policy Division for DLA Logistics Operations.

The microchips were manufactured and marked with botanical DNA at an Altera production plant, then moved to an independent distributor without interrupting standard supply-chain processes. APDN invented the use of botanical DNA for forensic authentication. Their SigNature DNA product is already being used to prevent counterfeiting of such items as wine, textiles and currency.

The APDN process embeds botanical DNA in the ink used on products, and a hand-held laser reader can detect that mark. The item can be swabbed and the swab sent to an APDN facility to forensically determine the unique DNA characteristics applied to a specific product.

“Microelectronics is where a lot of counterfeit issues have been occurring. It’s also where, if things go wrong, they could really impact system performance and lives, because microelectronics are used in everything from cars and airplanes to weapons systems,” Metz said.

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