International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 127, Issue 1, pp 49–54 | Cite as

Chimerism in DNA of buccal swabs from recipients after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantations: implications for forensic DNA testing

  • Burkhard Berger
  • Roswitha Parson
  • Johannes Clausen
  • Cordula Berger
  • David Nachbaur
  • Walther Parson
Short Communication


We attempted to quantitatively determine the chimeric state in a total of 162 buccal swabs from 77 adult recipients aged 19–74 (median 50 years) after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation by estimating the chimeric recipient/donor DNA ratios through analysis of 15 autosomal short tandem repeat markers. From each individual between one and nine, buccal swabs were taken at known time intervals after transplantation, ranging from 17 to 3,361 days (median 394 days). In buccal cells, the determined recipient/donor DNA ratios turned out to be highly variable between individuals and also within an individual. Relative donor chimerism levels (%Ch) between 0 and 100 % were detected with maximal frequencies between 10 and 30 %. Blood was always found to show the donor's genotype while hair samples in all cases gave the recipient's genotype. We examine chimerism levels with respect to age, gender, and posttransplantation period and discuss the results in the context of forensic identity testing.


Chimerism STRs Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantations Forensic 



We are grateful to all recipients participating voluntarily in this study and to the staff of the University Hospital of Internal Medicine V for their assistance in sample collection. We thank Nicole Krug for her contribution with routine data analysis, and Bettina Zimmermann and Lorenz Decristoforo for their useful discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Burkhard Berger
    • 1
  • Roswitha Parson
    • 2
  • Johannes Clausen
    • 2
  • Cordula Berger
    • 1
  • David Nachbaur
    • 2
  • Walther Parson
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Legal MedicineInnsbruck Medical UniversityInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Department of Hematology and OncologyUniversity Hospital of Innsbruck, Internal Medicine VInnsbruckAustria

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