Characterization of the Standard and Recommended CODIS Markers


  • Sara H. Katsanis M.S.,

    Corresponding author
    • Genome Ethics, Law & Policy, Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jennifer K. Wagner J.D., Ph.D.

    1. Division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, Center for the Integration of Genetic Healthcare Technologies, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Partially funded by grant number P50HG004487-05 from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

Additional information and reprint requests:

Sara H. Katsanis, M.S.

Genome Ethics, Law & Policy

Duke Institute for Human Genome Sciences & Policy

Duke University

304 Research Drive, Box 90141

Durham, NC 27708



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.