Advertisement

DNA transfer: Review and implications for casework

      Abstract

      DNA-bearing cellular material can come to be present on a surface by either direct or indirect transfer. Direct transfer includes contact, but also includes activities within the vicinity of an item that may result in the transfer of DNA directly from an individual without any contact, such as speaking, coughing, and sneezing. Indirect transfer of DNA is when DNA from an individual comes to be on an item via an intermediary surface. It is important to consider indirect transfer in the evaluation of trace DNA in casework. The term ‘trace DNA’ in this review refers solely to DNA that cannot be attributed to an identifiable body fluid.
      This review presents and considers data from trace DNA experiments to establish whether the quantity of DNA recovered from a crime stain and/or the quality of a DNA profile obtained can be used to infer the likely mechanism of transfer. The data show that varied results are obtained from apparently similar trace DNA samples, presumably due to the many factors that affect the detection of trace DNA. The nature and effect of these varying factors and the application of the data to casework is considered generally and with specific reference to DNA transfer to skin, DNA beneath fingernails, ‘wearer DNA’, and various contamination considerations.

      Keywords

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Forensic Science International: Genetics
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • van Oorschot R.A.H.
        • Ballantyne K.N.
        • Mitchell R.J.
        Forensic trace DNA: a review.
        Investig. Genet. 2010; 1: 14
        • Rutty G.N.
        • Hopwood A.
        • Tucker V.
        The effectiveness of protective clothing in the reduction.
        Int. J. Legal Med. 2003; 117: 170-174
        • Port N.J.
        • Bowyer V.L.
        • Graham E.A.M.
        • Batuwangala M.S.
        • Rutty G.N.
        How long does it take a static speaking individual to contaminate the immediate environment?.
        Forensic Sci. Med. Path. 2005; 2: 157-164
        • van Oorschot R.A.H.
        • Jones M.K.
        DNA fingerprints from fingerprints.
        Nature. 1997; 387: 767
        • Rudin N.
        • Inman K.
        The Urban Myths & Conventional Wisdom of Transfer: DNA as Trace Evidence.
        California Association of Criminalists Newsletter 3rd Quarter, 2007: 26-29
        • Jamieson A.
        • Meakin G.
        “Experience is the name that everyone gives to their mistakes”1.
        Barrister Mag. 2010; 45 (Available online at http://www.barristermagazine.com/archive-articles/issue-45/experience-is-the-name-that-everyone-gives-to-their-mistakes.html)
        • Linacre A.
        • Pekarek V.
        • Swaran Y.C.
        • Tobe S.S.
        Generation of DNA profiles from fabrics without DNA extraction.
        Forensic Sci. Int. Genet. 2010; 4: 137-141
        • Balogh M.K.
        • Burger J.
        • Bender K.
        • Schneider P.M.
        • Alt K.W.
        Fingerprints from fingerprints.
        Int. Congress Ser. 2003; 1239: 953-957
        • Quinones I.
        • Daniel B.
        Cell free DNA as a component of forensic evidence recovered from touched surfaces.
        Forensic Sci. Int. Genet. 2012; 6: 26-30
        • Goray M.
        • Mitchell R.J.
        • van Oorschot R.A.H.
        Evaluation of multiple transfer of DNA using mock case scenarios.
        Leg. Med. 2012; 14: 40-46
        • Ladd C.
        • Adamowicz M.S.
        • Bourke M.T.
        • Scherezinger C.A.
        • Lee H.C.
        A systematic analysis of secondary DNA transfer.
        J. Forensic Sci. 1999; 44: 1270-1272
        • Sewell J.
        • Quinones I.
        • Ames C.
        • Multaney B.
        • Curtis S.
        • Seeboruth H.
        • Moore S.
        • Daniel B.
        Recovery of DNA and fingerprints from touched documents.
        Forensic Sci. Int. Genet. 2008; 2: 281-285
        • Kamphausen T.
        • Schadendorf D.
        • von Wurmb-Schwark N.
        • Bajanowski T.
        • Poetsch M.
        Good shedder or bad shedder—the influence of skin diseases on forensic DNA analysis from epithelial abrasions.
        Int. J. Legal Med. 2012; 126: 179-183
        • Farmen R.K.
        • Jaghø R.
        • Cortez P.
        • Frøyland E.S.
        Assessment of individual shedder status and implication for secondary DNA transfer.
        Forensic Sci. Int. Genet. Suppl. Ser. 2008; 1: 415-417
        • Lowe A.
        • Murray C.
        • Whitaker J.
        • Tully G.
        • Gill P.
        The propensity of individuals to deposit DNA and secondary transfer of low level DNA from individuals to inert surfaces.
        Forensic Sci. Int. 2002; 129: 25-34
        • Daly D.J.
        • Murphy C.
        • McDermott S.D.
        The transfer of touch DNA from hands to glass, fabric and wood.
        Forensic Sci. Int. Genet. 2012; 6: 41-46
        • van Oorschot R.A.H.
        • Phelan D.G.
        • Furlong S.
        • Scarfo G.M.
        • Holding N.L.
        • Cummins M.J.
        Are you collecting all the available DNA from touched objects?.
        Int. Congress Ser. 2003; 1239: 803-807
        • Bright J.A.
        • Petricevic S.F.
        Recovery of trace DNA and its application to DNA profiling of shoe insoles.
        Forensic Sci. Int. 2004; 145: 7-12
        • Phipps M.
        • Petricevic S.
        The tendency of individuals to transfer DNA to handled items.
        Forensic Sci. Int. 2007; 168: 162-168
        • Graham E.A.M.
        • Rutty G.N.
        Investigation into “normal” background DNA on adult necks: Implications for DNA profiling of manual strangulation victims.
        J. Forensic Sci. 2008; 53: 1074-1082
        • Raymond J.J.
        • Walsh S.J.
        • van Oorschot R.A.H.
        • Gunn P.R.
        • Evans L.
        • Roux C.
        Forensic Sci. Int. Genet. Suppl. Ser. 2008; 1: 442-443
        • Goray M.
        • Mitchell R.J.
        • van Oorschot R.A.H.
        Investigation of secondary DNA transfer of skin cells under controlled test conditions.
        Leg. Med. 2010; 12: 117-120
        • Raymond J.J.
        • van Oorschot R.A.H.
        • Gunn P.R.
        • Walsh S.
        • Roux C.
        Trace evidence characteristics of DNA: a preliminary investigation of the persistence of DNA at crime scenes.
        Forensic Sci. Int. Genet. 2009; 4: 26-33
        • Rutty G.N.
        An investigation into the transference and survivability of human DNA following simulated manual strangulation with consideration of the problem of third party contamination.
        Int. J. Legal Med. 2002; 116: 170-173
        • Cook O.
        • Dixon L.
        The prevalence of mixed DNA profiles in fingernail samples taken from individuals in the general population.
        Forensic Sci. Int. Genet. 2007; 1: 62-68
        • Malsom S.
        • Flanagan N.
        • McAlister C.
        • Dixon L.
        The prevalence of mixed DNA profiles in fingernail samples taken from couples who co-habit using autosomal and Y-STRs.
        Forensic Sci. Int. Genet. 2009; 3: 57-62
        • Dowlman E.A.
        • Martin N.C.
        • Foy M.J.
        • Lochner T.
        • Neocleous T.
        The prevalence of mixed DNA profiles on fingernail swabs.
        Sci. Justice. 2010; 50: 64-71
        • Matte M.
        • Williams L.
        • Frappier R.
        • Newman J.
        Prevalence and persistence of foreign DNA beneath fingernails.
        Forensic Sci. Int. Genet. 2012; 6: 236-243
        • Flanagan N.
        • McAlister C.
        The transfer and persistence of DNA under the fingernails following digital penetration of the vagina.
        Forensic Sci. Int. 2011; 5: 479-483
        • Stouder S.L.
        • Reubush K.J.
        • Hobson D.L.
        • Smith J.L.
        Trace evidence scrapings: a valuable source of DNA?.
        Forensic Sci. Commun. 2001; 3
        • van Oorschot R.A.H.
        • Treadwell S.
        • Beaurepaire J.
        • Holding N.L.
        • Mitchell R.J.
        Beware of the possibility of fingerprinting techniques transferring DNA.
        J. Forensic Sci. 2005; 50: 1417-1422
        • Proff C.
        • Schmitt C.
        • Schneider P.M.
        • Foerster G.
        • Rothschild M.A.
        Experiments on the DNA contamination risk via latent fingerprint brushes.
        Int. Congr. Ser. 2006; 1288: 601-603
        • Poy A.
        • van Oorschot R.A.H.
        Beware; gloves and equipment used during the examination of exhibits are potential vectors for transfer of DNA-containing material.
        Int. Congr. Ser. 2006; 1288: 556-558
        • Goray M.
        • van Oorschot R.A.H.
        • Mitchell J.R.
        DNA transfer within forensic exhibit packaging: potential for DNA loss and relocation.
        Forensic Sci. Int. Genet. 2012; 6: 158-166
        • Rutty G.N.
        • Watson S.
        • Davison J.
        DNA contamination of mortuary instruments and work surfaces: a significant problem in forensic practice?.
        Int. J. Legal Med. 2000; 114: 56-60
        • Schwark T.
        • Poetsch M.
        • Preusse-Prange A.
        • Kamphausen T.
        • von Wurmb-Schwark N.
        Phantoms in the mortuary—DNA transfer during autopsies.
        Forensic Sci. Int. 2012; 216: 121-126
        • Petricevic S.F.
        • Bright Jo-Anne
        • Cockerton S.L.
        DNA profiling of trace DNA recovered from bedding.
        Forensic Sci. Int. 2006; 159: 21-26