by The Associated Press
ALBANY, Ore. ? Oregon's upcoming expansion of its crime-fighting DNA database will be the biggest since it was formed in 1991.
DNA samples have been taken from people convicted of sexual offenses and murder. These samples are cross-checked against DNA evidence collected from crime scenes in Oregon and around the nation in hopes of finding a match.
In the first decade, the state collected about 19,000 DNA samples. Under the new rules passed by the last Legislature, an additional 50,000 samples will be collected in the next six months.
A new state law that went into effect on Jan. 1 represents the biggest expansion of Oregon's program to date.
The state will now collect DNA samples from all convicted felons who are on parole or probation.
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State Police statistics show the DNA-testing program has led to 63 matches. This figure is fairly low, but there has been an increase in the effectiveness of the program in the past year. In 2001, the state confirmed 30 DNA matches, as many as in all the previous years combined.