Quirks & Quarks

Whose DNA is present in a donor heart?

The DNA of an organ donor remains with the transplanted organ inside the recipient, but may travel into the recipient's bloodstream.
Cardiac surgeon Dr. Mitesh Badiwala, right. (Peter Munk Cardiac Centre)

Dr. Mitesh Badiwala, a cardiovascular surgeon in the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, and the surgical director of the heart transplant program at Toronto General Hospital, explains that the DNA of an organ donor mostly remains with the donated organ. Some of the recipient's DNA may infiltrate the transplanted heart over time. In a similar way, some of the donor's DNA may find its way into the recipient's bloodstream.