15 Mar 2012

DNA Forensics Databases

National DNA Databank: CODIS

The COmbined DNA Index System, CODIS, blends computer and DNA technologies into a tool for fighting violent crime. The current version of CODIS uses two indexes to generate investigative leads in crimes where biological evidence is recovered from the crime scene. The Convicted Offender Index contains DNA profiles of individuals convicted of felony sex offenses (and other violent crimes). The Forensic Index contains DNA profiles developed from crime scene evidence. All DNA profiles stored in CODIS are generated using STR (short tandem repeat) analysis.

CODIS utilizes computer software to automatically search its two indexes for matching DNA profiles. Law enforcement agencies at federal, state, and local levels take DNA from biological evidence (e.G., blood and saliva) gathered in crimes that have no suspect and compare it to the DNA in the profiles stored in the CODIS systems. If a match is made between a sample and a stored profile, CODIS can identify the perpetrator.

This technology is authorized by the DNA Identification Act of 1994. All 50 states have laws requiring that DNA profiles of certain offenders be sent to CODIS. As of August 2007, the database contained over 5 million DNA profiles in its Convicted Offender Index and about 188,000 DNA profiles collected from crime scenes but not connected to a particular offender. (source http://www.Fbi.Gov/hq/lab/codis/clickmap.Htm ).

As more offender DNA samples are collected and law enforcement officers become better trained and equipped to collect DNA samples at crime scenes, the backlog of samples awaiting testing throughout the criminal justice system is increasing dramatically. In March 2003 President Bush proposed $1 billion in funding over 5 years to reduce the DNA testing backlog, build crime lab capacity, stimulate research and development, support training, protect the innocent, and identify missing persons. For more information, see the U.S. Department of Justice's Advancing Justice Through DNA Technology.

More on CODIS
CODIS: Combined DNA Index System - Information from the FBI.
The FBI Laboratory's Combined DNA Index System Program - Enter regional information to learn more about CODIS in your area. From Promega Corporation, a major supplier of reagents and other materials to support molecular biology research.
Postconviction DNA Testing: Recommendations for Handling Requests - Report from the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence.
What Every Law Enforcement Officer Should Know About DNA Evidence (September 1999) - Report from the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence.
Slide Show: Forensic DNA Legislation 2002 - A look at states' CODIS legislation.
Ethics of State DNA Collection (2004 meeting presentations and handouts from National Conference of State Legislatures' Criminal Justice Program, Genetic Technologies Project, and Center for Ethics in Government)

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