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A DNA Taggant Watermarking System

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8750-05-C-0062
Agency Tracking Number: F041-124-0413
Amount: $749,992.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF04-124
Solicitation Number: 2004.1
Solicitation Year: 2004
Award Year: 2005
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2005-06-27
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2007-06-27
Small Business Information
3112 Devon Rd
Durham, NC 27707
United States
DUNS: 145544982
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Scott Norton
 Chief Scientist
 (919) 493-7978
Business Contact
 John Reif
Title: President, Eagle Eye, Inc
Phone: (919) 493-7978
Research Institution

Taggants are small objects used to label things or people that need to be traced. Synthetic DNA Taggants are ideal for this, since very small amounts can be detected if the sequence is known, and can be disguised by natural DNA in the environment. Known protocols for DNA amplification (e.g. PCR) allow for very sensitive DNA detection, but suffer from disadvantages: the apparatus is not very portable, require energy, and enzymes used degrade rapidly without refrigeration. Our primary goal is to develop a prototype full-scale DNA Taggant system which includes (a) software to design the DNA strands comprising the DNA taggants, (b) means for dispersal of the DNA taggants, and (c) a detection device and associated biochemical protocols for detection of the DNA taggants. The detection device uses two novel biochemical protocols for DNA detection. Like PCR, our protocols are also exquisitely sensitive: given only few molecules of single stranded DNA to be detected, the protocols increase the concentration of the DNA to be detected at a rate increasing exponentially with time. Unlike conventional PCR, our detection protocols are isothermal (that is, they operate without thermal cycling) and so our apparatus is very portable and needs no energy source.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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