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

CODIS began as a pilot software project in 1990 serving 14 state and local laboratories. The DNA Identification Act of 1994 formalized the FBI’s authority to establish a National DNA Index System (NDIS) for law enforcement purposes. Today, more than 170 public law enforcement laboratories participate in NDIS across the United States. Internationally, over 40 law enforcement laboratories in more than 25 countries use the CODIS software for their own database initiatives.

CODIS generates investigative leads in cases where biological evidence is recovered from the crime scene. Matches made among profiles in the Forensic Index can link crime scenes together, possibly identifying serial offenders. This allows police from multiple jurisdictions to coordinate their respective investigations and share the leads they developed independently. Matches made between the Forensic and Offender Indexes provide investigators with the identity of a suspected perpetrator. Since names and other personally identifiable information are not stored at NDIS, qualified DNA analysts in the laboratories that share matching profiles contact one another to confirm the candidates match.