Chris Long from Reno, Nevada doesn’t have his own DNA in his semen, but instead has the DNA of a German man whom he’s never met.
Long is an IT worker in the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department, who received a bone marrow transplant from the German about 4 years ago and the biological changes that has been observed as a consequence of this procedure could change the future of forensic science in many pertinent ways.
Long underwent this bone marrow transplant to treat his acute myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer that prevents proper blood formation, according to a New York Times story; following which the donor’s blood forming cells replaced his unhealthy cells, thereby resuming normal blood production.
It’s been reckoned that Long’s blood will have the DNA of the donor however his colleague, Renee Romero surmised that this procedure can have an impact in the DNA in other parts of his body and exhorted him to have the DNA samples from various parts of his body collected before the procedure so that they can then be compared to the DNA after the procedure.
Long acquiesced and let the team at the Sheriff’s office collect many DNA samples of him from various parts of his body.
Comparing the DNA from various parts of his body before and after the procedure yielded a surprise: they could find both sets (donor and recipient) of DNA in certain parts of his body like lip, cheek and tongue and only Long’s DNA in other parts like the chest and head hair.
Here’s the clincher: Long’s semen had only the donor’s DNA as opposed to his or a combination of the two.
Long thought this was incredible that he could simply vanish into thin air and another person can suddenly appear as though like an apparition.
Bone marrow experts and boffins are perplexed as there is no mechanism that exists that would allow the recipient to produce semen that contained the DNA of the donor in such a procedure.
Mehrdad Abedi, who treated Long attributed this surprising result to the fact that he underwent vasectomy after his second child was born.
Vasectomy notwithstanding, this still raises the question about using DNA as an incontrovertible evidence against perpetrators in courts.
Experts are already facing an arduous task when they encounter DNA from innocent people in crime scenes however at least they would also have the correct DNA to lead them on to the perpetrator.
Forensic experts are befuddled envisaging the possibility where a sex crime is committed and DNA evidence implicates the donor as the perpetrator’s DNA is not left behind.
Long’s case has opened up a rabbit hole that has huge ramifications in forensic science, all because Long’s colleagues decided to test their outlandish ideas and asked him to take some samples before the procedure. Had Long not done that, this possibility might not have come to light.