Recovery of Trace DNA on Clothing: A Comparison of Mini-tape Lifting and Three Other Forensic Evidence Collection Techniques

J Forensic Sci. 2017 Jan;62(1):187-191. doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.13246. Epub 2016 Nov 16.


Trace DNA is often found in forensic science investigations. Experience has shown that it is difficult to retrieve a DNA profile when trace DNA is collected from clothing. The aim of this study was to compare four different DNA collection techniques on six different types of clothing in order to determine the best trace DNA recovery method. The classical stain recovery technique using a wet cotton swab was tested against dry swabbing, scraping and a new method, referred to as the mini-tape lifting technique. Physical contact was simulated with three different "perpetrators" on 18 machine-washed garments. DNA was collected with the four different DNA recovery methods and subjected to standard PCR-based DNA profiling. The comparison of STR results showed best results for the mini-tape lifting and scraping methods independent of the type of clothing. The new mini-tape lifting technique proved to be an easy and reliable DNA collection method for textiles.

Keywords: DNA analysis; DNA collection technique; contact stains; crime scene investigation; forensic science; mini-tapes; touch DNA; trace DNA.

MeSH terms

  • Clothing*
  • DNA / isolation & purification*
  • DNA Fingerprinting*
  • Female
  • Forensic Sciences
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Specimen Handling / methods*


  • DNA