The Impact of Chimerism on DNA-based Human Identification from skin surface cells of post-allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCST) patients
The use of biological traces recovered from touched or handled items increased with the advance of the forensic analysis system. Thus, DNA profiles obtained from touch DNA became a useful tool in forensic investigation. However, a chimeric person with more than one chromosomal population can be challenging for a forensic analyst. We investigated the genetic profile in blood, buccal swab, and skin swabs from twenty-four recipients aged 21–63 years who underwent a matched sibling allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation with no sign of skin graft versus host disease. Autosomal short tandem repeats genotyping was performed to evaluate chimerism status at 15 loci along with gender marker Amelogenin. According to our results, donor chimerism was detected in all recipient's blood samples, while in buccal swabs, five recipients showed no presence of donor-derived cells in their genotype. Epithelial cells swabbed from hand fingertips were not devoid of donor-derived cells since all recipients showed high chimerism (39.69%–96.66%) in their genotypes. A significant change in chimerism was seen among various types of biological samples (p < 0.05). No correlations were observed between chimerism and recipient age, gender, or time after transplant (p > 0.05). The loci D21S11, D8S1179, and FGA were the most informative, whereas D13S317, Vwa, and TOPX were the least informative STR markers. We concluded that touch DNA from a person who has undergone a successful allogeneic HSCTs should not be considered as reliable evidence for human identifications. Therefore, necessary precautions must be taken to avoid false identification and miscarriage of justice.