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Forensic DNA Education for Law Enforcement Decisionmakers

CODIS Searching Criteria

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CODIS Searching Criteria

illustration showing a partial match
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

When an evidence profile undergoes a traditional CODIS search, the search criteria are relaxed using something called "moderate stringency." Every laboratory strives to obtain the complete DNA profile for each sample, but sometimes samples are degraded or of insufficient quality to yield a complete profile. CODIS searches are conducted under moderate stringency to report matches between incomplete profiles. Because of this relaxed criteria, less than complete or perfect matches occur, much like the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) produces a list of candidate fingerprint matches. These "partial matches" occur quite infrequently and do not often produce viable investigative leads.

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