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Familial DNA Searching-an Emerging Forensic Investigative Tool

NCJ Number
Science & Justice Volume: 59 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2019 Pages: 20-28
Date Published
January 2019
9 pages
This article reports on varying practices related to familial DNA searching (FDS) official policies, training, eligibility, the software search, lineage testing, requirements for releasing information, and subsequent investigative work; and the article also discusses what can be learned from the National Survey of CODIS Laboratories about their perceptions, policies, and practices related to FDS.

In recent years, jurisdictions across the United States have expressed a growing interest in aiding criminal investigations through the use of familial DNA searching (FDS)- a forensic technique to identify family members through DNA databases. The National Survey of CODIS Laboratories surveyed U.S. CODIS laboratories about their perceptions, policies, and practices related to FDS. In total, 103 crime labs completed the survey (77 percent response rate). Labs in 11 states reported using FDS, while labs in 24 states reported using a similar-but distinct- practice of partial matching. Although the majority of labs had positive perceptions about the ability of FDS to assist investigations, labs also reported a number of concerns and challenges with implementing FDS. Respondents reported using either practice a limited amount, with modest numbers of convictions resulting from both FDS and partial matching. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019