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CODIS Brochure

CODIS Brochure

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CODIS Combined DNA Index System

The FBI Laboratory’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) blends forensic Science and computer technology into an effective tool for solving crime.

The FBI Laboratory’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) began as a pilot software project in 1990 serving 14 state and local laboratories. The DNA Identification Act of 1994 established the FBI’s authority to maintain a National DNA Index System (NDIS) for law enforcement purposes. Today, over 190 public law enforcement laboratories participate in NDIS across the United States. Internationally, more than 70 law enforcement laboratories in over 40 countries use the CODIS software for their own database initiatives. International laboratories using the CODIS software do not have any connectivity to the United States CODIS system.

CODIS generates investigative leads in cases where biological evidence is recovered from the crime scene. Forensic profiles are searched based on results obtained from nuclear DNA analysis using the 13 core CODIS STR loci. Matches made among profiles in the Forensic Index can link crime scenes together; possibly identifying serial offenders. Once a match is confirmed, police from multiple jurisdictions collaborate and share the leads they developed independently. Matches made between the Forensic and Offender Indexes provide investigators with the identity of a suspected perpetrator(s). Since names and other personally identifiable information are not stored at NDIS, qualified DNA analysts in the laboratories sharing matching profiles verify the match and provide the identifying information.


Several Indexes Categorize the Profiles Entered into CODIS


Convicted Offender


DNA profiles developed from crime scene evidence, such as semen or blood stains DNA profiles of individuals convicted of crimes DNA profiles of arrested persons
(if state law permits the collection of arrestee samples)

Missing Persons

Unidentified Human Remains

Biological Relatives
of Missing Persons

Pedigree Tree

DNA reference profiles from missing persons DNA profiles developed from unidentified human remains DNA profiles voluntarily contributed from relatives of missing persons A graphical representation of the relationship between the missing person and two or more relatives

Missing Persons
In 2000, the FBI Laboratory developed the National Missing Person DNA Database (NMPDD) Program for the identification of missing and unidentified persons. STR, Y-STR, and mtDNA data can be entered into the missing persons indexes of CODIS. Enhancements to kinship analysis for missing persons data and mass disaster events were a top priority during the development of the Next Generation CODIS software.

First implemented in 2008, these enhancements provide investigators with a powerful tool in the identification of missing and unidentified persons on a national level. Relatives of missing persons can be combined into Pedigree Trees for more thorough analysis. Metadata can be captured to allow non-genetic information to aid in the identification process. And the evaluation of multiple DNA technologies can assist in the reconstruction of maternal and paternal lineages.
These aspects of CODIS have proven to be successful on both the national and international level assisting in Missing Person and Disaster Victim Identification programs.

For questions concerning missing persons case submissions, please contact the Nuclear DNA Unit at 703-632-8446 or the Mitochondrial DNA Unit at 703-632-7572.

NMPDD uses Multiple Indexes in NDIS to enter DNA profiles that can be searched against each other

  • Unidentified Human Remains
  • Biological Relatives of Missing Persons
  • Missing Persons
  • Pedigree Tree

CODIS: The Next Generation
Through the combination of increased Federal funding and expanded database laws, the number of profiles in NDIS continues to increase dramatically. Additionally, the need for missing persons and disaster victim identification capabilities continues to grow. With these needs in mind, the FBI has developed the next generation of CODIS to be a user-friendly, multi-functional software program capable of efficiently processing large databases. The software provides enhanced kinship analysis tools, for missing person cases, utilizing not only STR, Y-STR, and mtDNA information but also metadata – non-genetic information such as date of last contact, age, or gender – to assist in identification efforts.

The FBI Laboratory is committed to the support of the CODIS program. With the continued cooperation and collaboration of legislative bodies and all components of the criminal justice community - law enforcement, crime laboratories, victims, prosecutors and the judiciary - the future of DNA, CODIS, and NDIS holds even greater promise to solve crime and identify the missing and unidentified.

Offender/Arrestee/Forensic Profiles & Offender Hits*

  2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012**
Offender Profiles 441,181 1,247,163 2,038,514 3,977,435 6,399,200 8,564,705 9,761,083
Arrestee Profiles - - - 54,313 140,719 668,849 1,139,065
Forensic Profiles 21,625 46,177 93,956 160,582 248,943 351,951 436,937
Investigations Aided 1,573 6,670 21,266 45,364 81,955 130,317 174,680
Forensic Hits 507 1,832 5,056 9,493 14,364 21,983 28,993
Offender Hits within State 705 4,394 12,482 30,138 59,184 97,772 132,517
Offender Interstate 26 638 1,834 4,397 8,561 15,724 20,698
Total Offender Hits 731 5,032 14,316 34,535 67,745 113,496 153,215

* An Offender Hit occurs when one or more forensic profiles are linked to a convicted offender, arrestee, or legal profile.
** Data is current as of June 2012 and is subject to change based upon laboratory submissions and or retroactive updates.

CODIS Architecture

National DNA Index System-(NDIS)
NDIS is the highest level in the CODIS hierarchy, and enables the Laboratories participating in the program to exchange and compare DNA profiles at the national level.

State DNA Index System-(SDIS)
SDIS allows laboratories within states to exchange DNA profiles.

Local DNA Index System-(LDIS)
DNA profiles originate at LDIS, and then flow to SDIS and NDIS.

For more information about CODIS and NDIS, please see the CODIS and NDIS Fact Sheet at: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/lab/codis/codis-and-ndis-fact-sheet.