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Study of Familial DNA Searching Policies and Practices: National Survey of CODIS Laboratories Brief

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2017
8 pages
This report presents the methodology and findings of a survey of all State and local CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) laboratories to learn about key considerations and varied practices related to familial DNA searching (FDS) and partial matching (PM) in the United States.
The survey solicited information on the following topics: lab/respondent background; legislation and policies; scope of the use of FDS and PM; perceptions and opinions of FDS and PM, including benefits and concerns; and specific practices related to FDS and PM. The survey found that 11 States conduct familial DNA searching, and 24 States disclose/proceed with partial matches. A third finding is that the use of FDS has expanded across these 11 States since 2007. A fourth survey finding indicates that support for familial DNA searching and partial matching statistically varied by lab practices, but all lab types had positive perceptions of FDS' potential. A fifth finding is that labs conducting FDA searching have had more concerns about the practice than labs that do not conduct familial DNA searching. In addition, the number of familial searches varied greatly by lab, but the practice has produced only a few convictions to date across all labs. In another finding, labs reported more stringent eligibility criteria for FDA searching than PM. The survey found that labs that conducted FDA searching had more requirements before releasing information to law enforcement compared with labs that disclose/proceed with partial matches. 6 exhibits

Date Published: June 1, 2017