Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff this week signed a law to require DNA from convicted criminals for inclusion in the national Brazilian DNA database.

The DNA database will match these profiles to evidence from unsolved violent crimes.

Brazil has become the 56th country to pass DNA database legislation, and the third in South America – Chile Signed a similar law in 2007, followed by Uruguay in 2010.

“With a population of nearly 200-million, and a strong DNA crime lab foundation, Brazil is positioned to become the largest DNA database in Latin America and one of the largest in world,” says Tim Schellberg, president of Gordon Thomas Honeywell Governmental Affairs, a firm that consults globally on DNA law and policy.

Schellberg expects Brazil’s new law to create a wave of similar legislation throughout Latin America. “Brazil has great influence throughout Latin America.  Other Latin American countries have been waiting to see what Brazil would do.”