Interpretive Handbook

Test 82971 :
Specimen Source Identification

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

For various reasons, the patient origin for a particular specimen may be questioned. This is especially true for paraffin-embedded material: labeling accuracy may be questioned or tissue from other sources may be included by mistake. Confirmation of the patient origin may be critical to the clinical work-up of that patient.


Molecular methods are now available to extract DNA from various sources, including paraffin-embedded material, and to compare the molecular fingerprint (genotype) of one specimen source with another one. Matching genotypes on multiple specimens suggest that they are derived from the same patient, whereas differences in genotype suggest different patient sources.

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Determining specimen origin when the patient identity of a specimen is in question

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

An interpretive report will be provided.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

Errors in our interpretation of results may occur if information given is inaccurate or incomplete.


A previous bone marrow transplant from an allogenic donor will interfere with testing. Call Mayo Medical Laboratories for instructions for testing patients who have received a bone marrow transplant.


Chain-of-custody documentation is not available.


This test is not intended for use in forensic or medicolegal cases; the use of this assay for these purposes is strongly discouraged.

Clinical References Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature

Sano K, Takayanagi K, Kaneko T, et al: Application of short tandem repeat of genomic DNA and mitochondrial DNA for identification of mixed-up tissue specimens. Pathol Int 2000;50:1-6