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Federal investigators tightened their case against alleged anthrax mailer Bruce E. Ivins with the help of a local company that performs sophisticated genetic tests, the Los Angeles Times reported today.

Ibis Biosciences, a Carlsbad company, helped investigators trace a unique mixture of anthrax spores by using a high-resolution genotyping kit, according to the story.

Here’s an excerpt from the Times story:

The company tells its clients, including the FBI, that its high-resolution anthrax genotyping kit provides analyses more advanced than any other technology worldwide.

In fact, the company’s test results buoyed FBI and Department of Justice officials.

“Their capability is very sophisticated; it is faster and more elegant than what had been available,” said Randall S. Murch, a former FBI scientist who earlier served as an outside consultant to the bureau for the anthrax investigation.

Ibis provided its services to the anthrax investigation under a nondisclosure agreement with the FBI that bars company personnel from discussing their work without government authorization.

Ivins, 62, a senior microbiologist at the government’s biodefense research institute at Fort Detrick, Md., died last Tuesday in an apparent suicide as federal prosecutors prepared to bring murder charges against him for the 2001 anthrax mailings, according to the Times.

DARRYN BENNETT

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