Laundry in a washing machine as a mediator of secondary and tertiary DNA transfer
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The aim of this work was to investigate the possibility of secondary and tertiary DNA transfer during laundry. The modes of transfer tested were mixed and separate laundry of worn and unworn garments in household and public washing machines. In addition, the possibility of a background DNA carry-over from a washing machine’s drum was investigated. In the mixed (worn and unworn garments washed together) laundry experiment, 22% of samples from new unworn socks with no traceable DNA prior to experiment produced DNA profiles post-laundry. In the tertiary DNA transfer experiment performed in a public washing machine (unworn garments only), no detectable DNA profiles were observed. Samples collected from the internal drum of 25 washing and drying machines did not produce detectable STR profiles. The implications of these results are discussed in the context of forensic DNA casework analysis.
KeywordsForensic science Forensic DNA analysis Secondary DNA transfer Tertiary DNA transfer STR analysis Laundry