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Combined DNA Index System (CODIS)

The Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) program provides software and support services to enable state and local laboratories to establish databases of convicted offenders, unsolved crime scenes, and missing persons. CODIS allows these forensic laboratories to exchange and compare DNA profiles electronically, thereby linking serial violent crimes, especially sexual assaults, to each other, and to identify suspects by matching DNA from crime scenes to convicted offenders.

CODIS has recorded more than 500 matches linking serial violent crimes to each other or identifying suspects by matching crime scene evidence to known convicted offenders. These matches have aided more than 1,000 violent crime investigations.

This indexing system is installed in 104 laboratories in 43 states and the District of Columbia. All 50 states have enacted DNA database laws requiring the collection of a DNA sample from specified categories of convicted offenders. More than 500 federal, state, and local DNA analysts have received CODIS training, and the FBI Laboratory has provided CODIS software and training to criminal justice agencies in other countries.

Graphic showing DNA analysis

Examiners conducting DNA analyses can exchange and compare their samples electronically using CODIS


More than $16 million in grant funding transferred to the Bureau of Justice Assistance has been awarded to the states to establish, develop, and upgrade computerized identification systems compatible with CODIS, the FBI's National Crime Information Center, and automated fingerprint systems compatible with the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

CODIS Case Highlights

Using CODIS, the Illinois State Police Laboratory linked a 1999 solved sexual assault case to three other sexual assaults in which the suspect was previously unknown. The 1999 case involved a sexual assault on two female college students who were unable to identify the offender. Police, however, were able to develop a suspect from witnesses' descriptions and circumstantial evidence. CODIS matched this suspect's DNA profile to three other cases that occurred in 1994 and 1995.

A DNA profile developed by the Virginia Division of Forensic Science in Richmond resulted in the resolution of an unknown subject rape case. In March 1997, a man raped and sodomized a woman after breaking into her home. The police had no suspects in the case but were able to retrieve biological evidence from the crime scene. This evidence was sent to the Richmond laboratory, where a DNA profile was developed and searched in CODIS. In March 1999, CODIS linked the crime to a profile in Virginia's Offender Index. At the time of the identification, the offender was serving time in a New York prison for robbery, with a prior conviction in Virginia for grand larceny.

See also DNA Units I and II

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National DNA Index System (NDIS)


The FBI Laboratory began operation of the National DNA Index System (NDIS) on October 13, 1998. NDIS is the final level of CODIS and supports the sharing of DNA profiles from convicted offenders and crime scene evidence submitted by state and local forensic laboratories across the United States. All 50 states have laws authorizing the establishment of state DNA databases and the collection of DNA samples from convicted offenders. Twenty-four states and the FBI Laboratory participate in NDIS, and the FBI Laboratory has added approximately 600 DNA profiles in NDIS.

Through use of NDIS, the FBI Laboratory linked six sexual assault cases that occurred in Washington, DC, to three sexual assault cases under investigation by the Jacksonville, Florida, Sheriff's Office. Without this link to the Florida cases, it is likely that these sexual assaults would have remained unsolved.

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Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS)


In March 1997, the FBI Laboratory began using the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) at a limited level of capability. On July 28, 1999, this system became fully operational, providing the capability to search latent fingerprints against the largest criminal fingerprint repository in the world, which contains more than 35 million individuals' known fingerprints.

Using the full capability of IAFIS, FBI examiners made 92 latent print identifications in two months. This is the same number of IAFIS-assisted latent print identifications made during the previous 26 months.

Graphic showing use of IAFIS to conduct latent print examinations

IAFIS allows examiners to compare latent print evidence to a repository
of known prints


All of these identifications were made without benefit of a named suspect and helped solve a variety of crimes, including homicides, rape, bombing matters, organized crime, extortion, drug crimes, and financial institution fraud.

See also the Latent Print Unit


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Information revised October 2000