Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pierre, CODIS and DNA databases

My good friend Pierre Hugues Boisvenu asked me about DNA databases in the United States.

(at first he used the term "fingerprints" which in French would translate to DNA ("ADN") so I directed him to Homeland Security and the FBI who are involved in an initiative to catalogue offender fingerprints nationally (though it is voluntarily endorsed by State agencies)... but this is entirely another matter.)

Yes, DNA databases... apparently there is federal legislation being looked at in Canada for a national initiative to link missing persons with unidentified human remains in hopes of making a match.

I have blogged about this before, but since all my prior work has been removed by Google (they took down the victims site I maintained for seven years, "who killed Theresa"), I might as well discuss it again.

So... databases...

YES, the United States does have a national initiative called CODIS (Combined DNA Index System). It is an FBI program designed to collect offender DNA in hopes of making a match to unsolved crime cases. As of May 2007, CODIS held 177,870 forensic profiles and 4,582,516 offender profiles, making it the largest DNA database in the world, surpassing the United Kingdom National DNA Database, which consisted of an estimated 3,976,090 profiles as of June 2007. In recent years the  Missing or Unidentified Persons Index, and the Missing Persons Reference Index have been added to CODIS in the hopes of making matches with cold cases and unidentified human remains.

Though Canada is behind the UK and US in nationalizing such databases that doesn't mean there haven't been efforts. Lindsay's Law was an initiative started by the parents of Lindsay Nicholls. She went missing over 30 years ago in British Columbia and the parents are advocates in support of Bill C-279, Lindsey's Law, which would allow the collection of DNA from missing persons or their close relatives for the purpose of cross-referencing DNA from crime scenes and unidentified human remains.

As well, in Ontario the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) started Project Resolve, a provincial effort that has been very successful in linking missing persons DNA with unsolved cases.

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