CODIS stands for Combined DNA Index System. It is the core of the national DNA database, established and funded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and developed specifically to enable public forensic DNA laboratories to create searchable DNA databases of authorized DNA profiles. The CODIS software permits laboratories throughout the country to share and compare DNA data. In addition, it provides a central database of the DNA profiles from all user laboratories. A weekly search is conducted of the DNA profiles in this national database, known as the National DNA Index System (NDIS) , and resulting matches are automatically returned by the software to the laboratory that originally submitted the DNA profile.
The term "CODIS" is often misused by law-enforcement officers, prosecutors and even practitioners of the forensic sciences when they intend to refer to a "DNA database." The index system has three levels of operation. The term "DNA database" is sometimes used without specific reference to the level, which may lead to misunderstandings. For example, some categories of profiles are allowed in a State’s database but not in the National database. The term "CODIS lab" is also misused in reference to a state laboratory that does the analysis of convicted offender samples. That is a misnomer since CODIS also contain other profiles such as forensic profiles.
Upon successful completion of this unit of instruction, the student shall be able to:
- Recognize the functionality of the CODIS software
- Recognize and explain the source of procedures and rules governing the use of CODIS
- Recognize the purpose of DNA databases and be aware of their effectiveness
- List the different types of DNA profiles in CODIS
- List the levels of participation in CODIS
- List the different database levels of CODIS
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