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Keywords:

  • forensic science;
  • genetic identity;
  • DNA typing;
  • forensic genetics;
  • Combined DNA Index System;
  • short tandem repeats

Abstract

As U.S. courts grapple with constitutional challenges to DNA identification applications, judges are resting legal decisions on the fingerprint analogy, questioning whether the information from a DNA profile could, in light of scientific advances, reveal biomedically relevant information. While CODIS loci were selected largely because they lack phenotypic associations, how this criterion was assessed is unclear. To clarify their phenotypic relevance, we describe the standard and recommended CODIS markers within the context of what is known currently about the genome. We characterize the genomic regions and phenotypic associations of the 24 standard and suggested CODIS markers. None of the markers are within exons, although 12 are intragenic. No CODIS genotypes are associated with known phenotypes. This study provides clarification of the genomic significance of the key identification markers and supports—independent of the forensic scientific community—that the CODIS profiles provide identification but not sensitive or biomedically relevant information.