Deakin University

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The prescence of human DNA on companion dogs

posted on 2021-01-01, 00:00 authored by Heidi Monkman
Awareness of the probability of DNA transferring from a person, item or surface to another person, item or surface is highly relevant during investigations of alleged criminal activity. Much of the current research pertaining to animals has been centred around wildlife and endangered species, with the goal of ascertaining, from where it may have originated. However, animals in domestic environments could be victims of crime or an innocent party associated with a crime. There is, however, very limited knowledge of human DNA transfer, persistence, prevalence and recovery (DNA-TPPR) associated with domestic animals.

This pilot study aimed to improve our understanding of DNA-TPPR associated with domestic dogs by a) collecting and analysing samples (swabs) from various external areas (including chest, head, back, sides and stomach) of dogs of various breeds, human interactions and living arrangements, and b) conducting a series of tests to ascertain the possibility of a dog being a vector for the indirect transfer of human DNA. Reference DNA profiles from the dog owners and others living in the same residence were acquired to assist interpretation of the findings. It was determined that dogs have human DNA that can be recovered from them, and that the person who handles the dog the most is the most prevalent on the dog. They were also found to be vectors for the transfer of human DNA, with DNA transferred from the dog to a gloved hand during patting and a sheet while walking. Whilst this study shows that human DNA is prevalent on dogs and appear to be potential vectors of human DNA more research is required to determine the probability of transfer given relevant situation.



59 p.

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B. Forensic Science (Hons)

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B Szkuta


Faculty of Science


Engineering and Built Environment

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