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Forensic Science - Facts and Figures

This section provides the latest information and statistics.

As of July 2014, the National DNA Index System (NDIS) contained over 11,074,000 offender profiles, 1,958,000 arrestee profiles and 571,000 forensic profiles (CODIS-NDIS Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, retrieved September 2014).

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) periodically conducts a study of publicly funded crime laboratories in the United States. Findings from the report include: "[i]n 2009, the nation’s 411 publicly funded crime laboratories received an estimated 4.1 million requests for forensic services. Of these, 8 out of 10 were for the screening or DNA analysis of biological evidence (i.e., forensic biology) (34%), controlled substance analysis (33%), or toxicology (15%)." Additionally, "[t]he nation’s 411 publicly funded crime labs began 2009 with an estimated backlog of 1.2 million requests for forensic services." (Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories, 2009, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2012).

CODIS (COmbined DNA Index System), an electronic database of DNA profiles that can identify suspects, is similar to the AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) database. Every State in the Nation is in the process of implementing a DNA index of individuals convicted of certain crimes, such as rape, murder, and child abuse (What Every Law Enforcement Officer Should Know About DNA Evidence, National Institute of Justice, 1999).

All 50 states now have laws requiring DNA typing of convicted offenders (Improved Analysis of DNA Short Tandem Repeats with Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry, National Institute of Justice, 2001).

Ninydrin was first introduced in 1910 by the English chemist, Siegfried Ruhemann, but became more well-known in 1954 when it was discovered that it could be used as a fingerprint developing reagent. (New Reagents for Development of Latent Fingerprints, National Institute of Justice, 1995).

From the Office for Victims of Crime’s Understanding DNA Evidence: A Guide for Victim Service Providers (April 2001):

  • DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the building block for the human body; virtually every cell contains DNA
  • The DNA in a person's blood cells is the same as the DNA in their saliva, skin tissue, hair, and bone. Importantly, DNA does not change throughout a person's life

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