Investigation of DNA transfer onto clothing during regular daily activities
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- International Journal of Legal Medicine, 2018, 132 (4), pp. 1035 - 1042
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© 2017, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. Low levels of DNA from an unidentified human source, often referred to as trace DNA, are ubiquitous, can be transferred onto objects by either direct or indirect methods and have an unknown longevity in situ. Clothing items from crime scenes are often submitted for trace DNA analysis, usually in attempt to identify a person of interest. This study examined the transfer of DNA onto three 10 × 10 cm areas located on the front, back and shoulder of an individual’s external clothing (n = 300) during a regular day’s activity. After wearing for a day, the DNA quantity on all three areas increased approximately 8-fold, which usually corresponded with an increase in the endogenous DNA from the wearer on the front area of the shirt. However, the back area of the shirt was more likely to demonstrate mixtures of endogenous and extraneous DNA. An additional study was also carried out to examine whether domestic laundering is a possible mechanism for the transfer of foreign DNA onto freshly laundered items and revealed that 74% of UV-treated cotton swatch samples produced DNA profiles after laundry with household garments. In summary, this study highlights the ease of DNA transfer onto an individual’s external clothing during a regular day, and that extraneous DNA may be already on the clothing item prior to it being worn. The study provides empirical data to assist in the interpretation of trace DNA profiles and support a Bayesian approach to estimate statistical likelihoods for the transfer of foreign DNA. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
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