After Bone Marrow Transplant, Man’s Semen Contains Only Donor’s DNA
Chris Long is an IT worker in the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department in Reno, Nevada. But all the DNA in his semen belongs to a German man he’s never met.
That’s because Long received a bone marrow transplant from the European stranger four years ago — and the unexpected impact it has had on his biology could affect the future of forensic science.
According to a newly published New York Times story, the purpose of the transplant was to treat Long’s acute myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer that prevents the body from producing blood normally.
Following the procedure, the healthy blood-forming cells from the donor replaced Long’s unhealthy cells, allowing his body to resume normal blood production. It makes sense, then, for Long’s blood to contain the DNA of his donor.
But Long’s colleague, Renee Romero, who ran the office’s forensics lab, posited that the bone marrow transplant might affect the DNA elsewhere in his body, so she encouraged him to have samples of his DNA collected before the procedure so the team could compare them to after samples.
Long agreed, and since his procedure, the team at the sheriff’s office has collected numerous additional samples of his DNA from various parts of his body.
Sometimes, they find both Long’s DNA and his donor’s in the samples, such as when they test swabs from his lip, cheek, and tongue. Samples of his chest and head hair, meanwhile, show only Long’s DNA.