FDDU History

FDDU History

The Federal DNA Database Unit (FDDU) was initially established as the Federal Convicted Offender (FCO) Program in 2000 as a result of enacted federal legislation—specifically, the DNA Backlog Elimination Act of 2000. The FCO Program was originally part of the FBI Laboratory’s mitochondrial casework unit, the DNA Analysis Unit II (DNAAUII); it relocated to the nuclear casework unit, DNA Analysis Unit I (DNAAUI), in 2002. Expanding DNA legislation over the next decade significantly impacted both the scope and direction of the FCO Program in this time-frame. 

On January 28, 2001, federal regulations of the DNA Backlog Elimination Act became effective, authorizing the FCO Program to accept sample submissions. Corresponding uploads of DNA profiles into the National DNA Index System (NDIS) were underway by 2002. The FCO Program incorporated its first significant technological advancements in 2004, including FTA extractions and a computerized Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)—both became a foundation for the Laboratory’s emerging high-throughput capabilities. This was timely, as the expansion of federal DNA legislation with the Justice for All Act of 2004 effectively widened the scope of authorized submissions to virtually all federal convictions. 

In January 2009, DNA collection procedures were promulgated for further legislation expansions from the DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005 and the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. These resulted in today’s collection and submission procedures, which includes federal arrestees as well as non-U.S. citizens detained under the authority of the United States government. The corresponding expansion of submissions over a short time-frame created a backlog of samples within the FCO Program, reaching as many as 300,000 specimens. DNAAUI was restructured into separate casework and databank disciplines in 2009, with the FCO Program becoming its own unit, FDDU. In September 2010, through the concerted efforts of dedicated unit personnel—coupled with enhanced technology solutions—the FDDU successfully eliminated the backlog, uploading more than 300,000 samples to the NDIS, including a record of 80,000 samples in July 2010.

On April 15, 2013, FDDU received its one millionth sample submission. The unit surpassed another major milestone on July 2, 2015, uploading its one millionth sample to NDIS.