The number represents just a small fraction of the nearly 13 million genetic profiles stored in the national database, the New York Times reported Friday.
"We were pleasantly surprised it was only 166," said Dr. Alice R. Isenberg, the chief of the biometric analysis section of the FBI Laboratory, referring to the number of cases containing errors. "We were quite worried it would be much higher than that. These are incredibly small numbers for the size of the database."
It remains to be seen whether the FBI's findings will effect closed cases. The FBI has informed state and local authorities of the errors, but the agency is not responsible for follow-up.
"We don't have oversight," Isenberg said. "It's up to the labs to take the information and act on it."
As a result of the FBI's findings, New York state has started a review of its DNA database, but it is unclear whether other states have done the same.