Northumbria University Centre for Forensic Science

Can post-mortem blood be used for DNA STR profiling after peri-mortem blood transfusion?

E.M.A Graham, M. Tsokos & G.N. Rutty. International Journal of Legal Medicine, 121(1), pp.18-23. (2007).


The question of whether blood transfusions can affect DNA profiling is still a contentious issue throughout the forensic community. It is hypothesised that donor leucocytes present in the administered blood will be detected upon examination of recipient blood. In order to resolve this issue, a selection of theoretical experiments were carried out to determine how much donor DNA must be present for its detection in blood components. Five casework examples of material collected from individuals after massive transfusion, including a case of whole organ transplantation, were also investigated. The results indicated that filtration processes used during blood production do not allow the passage of enough donor leucocytes for detection using current forensic profiling techniques. No evidence of secondary profile alleles were found in any case, indicating that peri-mortem blood transfusion does not affect DNA profiling.

Tags: , Eleanor Graham