Please, Let's Bury the Junk: The CODIS Loci and the Revelation of Private Information

01 Jan 2007

This Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy paper describes the four possible ways in which genetic loci could possess predictive or diagnostic value with regard to diseases and explains why these mechanisms have not led, and probably cannot lead, to useful screening tests with the Convicted Offender DNA Index System (CODIS) profiles in national, state, and local databases. It then considers the phenotypes and familial relationships that the CODIS STRs can be used to identify. The profiles carry limited information about an individual's race and familial relationships, and the article places the resulting privacy issues in perspective. Finally, the paper comments on analogies between STR types and fingerprints, social-security numbers, and the like.