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The CODIS Software

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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).

The four primary functions of the current CODIS software are:

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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© 2007 NFSTC Science Serving Justice®
NOTE TO USERS: The President’s DNA Initiative DNA Analyst Training program and assessment were completed and published in 2005, in cooperation with the National Institute of Justice. The science and techniques in the program are sound and proven, however, program content has not been updated to include tools and technologies developed and in use after 2005, including many kits and robots. Assessment questions address only content delivered in this program and may not contain the full range of tools in use in your laboratory.