A holistic approach for the selection of forensic DNA swabs.

Comment, David; Gouy, Alexandre; Zingg, Christian; Zieger, Martin (2023). A holistic approach for the selection of forensic DNA swabs. Forensic science international, 348, p. 111737. Elsevier 10.1016/j.forsciint.2023.111737

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In the present study, we compared the performance of five different ISO 18385 certified forensic swabs for DNA sampling in practice over a time period of five months. Comparisons were made for DNA profiling success rates, measured as the percentage of CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) suitable profiles as well as for practical suitability during sampling at the scene, measured through a survey among collaborators. More than forty members of our crime scene investigation (CSI) unit took part in the test series and provided structured feedback concerning different aspects of swab handling. A total number of 1094 "touch" DNA samples have been subjected to DNA analysis. Swabs performed significantly different in terms of DNA profiling success rates. We also observed significant differences in DNA extraction efficiency between swabs. The evaluation by the collaborators of various aspects of handling differed significantly between swabs. We can assume that a more convenient handling decreases the risk of contamination or sample mislabelling and increases sampling efficiency and staff satisfaction. Our results demonstrate that the selection of disposable sampling devices such as forensic swabs for DNA sampling should be made based on a holistic approach. To be able to select the best performing swab for a given combination of CSI and DNA laboratory procedures, it might not be sufficient to only perform DNA extraction comparisons and trace sampling under controlled laboratory conditions.

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:

Gouy, Alexandre Pierre, Zieger, Martin


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

30 May 2023 09:35

Last Modified:

16 Jun 2023 00:16

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Collaboration study DNA collection Forensic Sampling Swab “touch” DNA traces





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