Improvements, factors, and influences on DNA recovery from firearms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Touch DNA recovery from firearms can be central to many criminal investigations, yet the generation of DNA profiles from these items remains poor. Currently in Australia, published casework data highlights extremely poor DNA success from samples recovered from firearms. Only between 5% and 25% of samples result in useful DNA data and therefore increasing the success of DNA recovered from firearms is highly important but has not yet been explored in-depth. This study focused on increasing the recovery of DNA from ten firearm components that were held for 15 s. Multiple recovery methods were used, and the resulting genetic data compared. DNA evidence may be deliberately removed from firearms after discharge to hamper forensic investigations, therefore this study examined the effect of wiping down the components or handling them with gloves. A standard double swab and rinse swab recovery method resulted in an average of 73% cellular recovery. A cumulative swab process had the highest average recovery at 86%, although it was found that increasing the DNA yield led to an increase in mixture complexity. Wiping over the components was observed to remove on average 69% of cellular material, compared with 33% when handed with gloves. However, the size and texture of the components affected the efficiency of cellular material removal. The results from this study allow for prioritisation of areas to sample on firearms, as well as suggesting techniques that can be applied for the optimum process of cellular recovery and subsequent generation of STR DNA data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102873
Number of pages14
JournalForensic Science International: Genetics
Early online date14 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • DNA profile
  • DNA recovery
  • Firearms
  • Shedder status
  • STR
  • Touch DNA


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