Efficient DNA Sampling in Burglary Investigations.

Tièche, Colin Charles; Dubach, Markus; Zieger, Martin (2022). Efficient DNA Sampling in Burglary Investigations. Genes, 13(1) MDPI, Molecular Diversity Preservation International 10.3390/genes13010026

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In terms of crime scene investigations by means of forensic DNA-analyses, burglaries are the number one mass crime in Switzerland. Around one third of the DNA trace profiles registered in the Swiss DNA database are related to burglaries. However, during the collection of potential DNA traces within someone's residence after a burglary, it is not known whether the sampled DNA originated from the perpetrator or from an inhabitant of said home. Because of the high incidence of burglaries, crime scene investigators usually do not collect reference samples from all the residents for economical and administrative reasons. Therefore, the presumably high probability that a DNA profile belonging to a person authorized to be at the crime scene ends up being sent to a DNA database for comparison, has to be taken into account. To our knowledge, no investigation has been made to evaluate the percentage of these non-perpetrator profiles straying into DNA databases. To shed light on this question, we collected reference samples from residents who had been victims of recent burglaries in their private homes. By comparing the profiles established from these reference samples with the profiles generated from trace DNA, we can show that the majority of the DNA samples collected in burglary investigations belong to the residents. Despite the limited number of cases included in the study, presumably due to a crime decline caused by the pandemic, we further show that trace DNA collection in the vicinity of the break and entry area, in particular window and door glasses, is most promising for sampling perpetrator instead of inhabitant DNA.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Forensic Molecular Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Tièche, Colin, Zieger, Martin




MDPI, Molecular Diversity Preservation International




Antoinette Angehrn

Date Deposited:

22 Feb 2022 09:09

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:06

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

CODIS authorized burglary crime scene forensic genetics sampling touch DNA





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