DNA analysis

DNA analysis

DNA analysis was developed in the 1980s and has become an important tool in criminal prosecution. Until 2000, DNA analysis in Switzerland was only used in direct comparison, i.e. DNA traces secured at a crime scene would be compared with a sample taken from a suspect. In July 2000, a central DNA profile database known as CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) was established and tested until 31 December 2004. The DNA Profiles Act and the corresponding implementing regulation became operative on 1 January 2005, whereupon CODIS was put into routine operation.

CODIS stores DNA profiles of offenders, suspects and crime scene traces. Automated comparison of DNA profiles allows the authorities to identify, in particular, crimes committed by serial and second offenders as well as organised criminal groups.

DNA analysis and identification has accelerated case solving, enabling several cases to be solved each day by providing either incriminating or exculpatory evidence. CODIS is also useful in identifying unknown or missing persons.

Legal basis

  • DNA testing

    Broadcast by swissinfo, 9 December 2009:
    DNA analysis was developed in the 1980s and has become an important tool in criminal prosecutions. The Swiss police can request DNA samples even from people suspected of minor offences, and civil rights campaigners argue that their powers are too wide. Protestors took to the streets recently to argue the point. (Julie Hunt, swissinfo.ch/SF 9.12.2009)

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