Forensic scientists solve puzzle of body with DNA from two people

Forensic scientists solve puzzle of body with DNA from two people
Forensic scientists in Germany have been warned to be extra careful when identifying bodies from DNA after a body was found with the genes from two people.

Extensive investigations eventually revealed that the person who had died was a man – but had received a bone marrow transplant from a woman years before, weekly newsmagazine Focus reported in its latest edition.

“We have never had a case like this,” Katja Anslinger from the Munich Institute for Forensic Evidence.

The man killed himself in February by jumping in front of a train. He died immediately, and his body was so badly damaged that DNA tests were carried out to help in the identification process.

The train-driver and a suicide note found in his clothes pointed towards the body being that of a male builder. The forensic tests showed female DNA in the blood, but male DNA in the rest of the body.

“This case should make detectives and other investigating authorities more careful with genetic evidence, and ask more questions,” Anslinger said.

She warned that if the police do not know of a bone marrow transplant, such conflicting DNA evidence could lead to confusion with identification.

The magazine says that more than 17,600 successful bone marrow transplants have been conducted in Germany since 1998.