The CODIS Software
CODIS was created in 1990 as a software pilot project by the FBI.01 Originally it was intended as a software platform for the analysis of restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) profiles and their storage in a searchable database. As forensic DNA technology and computer technology evolved and improved, the CODIS software was continually upgraded to meet the changing needs of the forensic science community. The current CODIS software is designed for the storage and searching of short tandem repeat (STR) profiles. The same version of the software is used by all participating laboratories, at the local, state and federal levels. (Note that although the main version of CODIS is for handling STR results, a separate version exists for the entry and searching of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) profiles).
Click here to read more about RFLP in Subject 01, Module 02.
The four primary functions of the current CODIS software are:
- DNA profile entry and management: the database that contains the DNA profiles
- Searching: the function that allows a search of the profiles in the database
- Match management: the function that manages the search results; for example, it allows a laboratory to record and distinguish whether a particular match is an offender hit or a forensic hit, and whether the match is within the state or to a laboratory from another state.
- Statistical calculations: the function that allows laboratory personnel to calculate profile statistics, based on the laboratory’s own population frequency data or the FBI's population frequency data.
A weekly search is conducted of all the DNA profiles in the National DNA Index System, and any resulting matches between profiles are automatically returned to the laboratories that submitted those profiles. This communication between CODIS laboratories and NDIS is accomplished via the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Service-Wide Area Network (CJIS-WAN). The CJIS-WAN is a secure intranet that allows data transmission between computers on the closed network.02 All communications between a state laboratory's CODIS software and NDIS (National DNA Index System), as well as communications between CODIS software in different states, are conducted via the CJIS-WAN.
A CODIS website is maintained by the FBI on the CJIS-WAN, and is accessible only to CODIS laboratories. The website contains information, such as summaries of state DNA database laws, nationwide DNA hit counts, and NDIS information.
The CODIS software is provided by the FBI to all public forensic laboratories at no cost. However, the cost of the computer hardware and all support software are the laboratory's responsibility. Upgrades and technical support of the software is also provided free to all laboratories. Copies of the CODIS software have been provided to some foreign countries, but they are stand-alone copies and are not connected to the CODIS network in the United States.
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