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Int J Legal Med. 2013 Jan;127(1):49-54. doi: 10.1007/s00414-012-0687-5. Epub 2012 Mar 9.

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

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  • 1Institute of Legal Medicine, Innsbruck Medical University, Muellerstrasse 44, 6020, Innsbruck, Austria.


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.

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