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Familial DNA Searching - An Emerging Forensic Investigative Tool, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2017
20 pages

This report presents the methodology and findings of the National Survey of CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) Laboratories, which was conducted between December 2014 and May 2015 for the purpose of collecting systematic data on lab practices related to familial DNA searching and partial matching (PM).


A total of 103 crime labs completed the survey (77-percent response rate). Labs in 11 States reported using FDS, and labs in 24 States reported using a similar, but distinct, practice of partial matching. Although the majority of the labs had positive perceptions of the ability of FDS to assist investigations, labs also reported a number of concerns and challenges in implementing FDS. Respondents reported limited use of either practice, with only a few convictions resulting from either FDS or partial matching. This paper reports on varying practices related to official policies, training, eligibility, the software search, lineage testing, requirements for releasing information, and subsequent investigative work. It also discusses what can be learned from the survey, its limitations, and implications for decision-makers considering using FDS. 10 figures and 27 references

Date Published: June 1, 2017