DNA & Fingerprints on cigarette butt left out in rain


If a cigarette butt is left in the rain, what if any dna would be left?

additionally wd rain/water degrade a fingerprint on same butt?

thanks Dan

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I imagine it'd matter how hard the rain was, for how long.  And if the butt was facing to the ground, it would matter if concrete or soil. 

Yes, well, short of an answer from a forensic scientist, the best I can come up with is that this is a long shot. Most probably the evidence (if there was much to begin with, would be lost.


As a writer, I'd rewrite this to avoid an iffy situation.

Thanks but an iffy situation is exactly what I needed!


Struggling with a bunch of balls in the air, trying to keep reader guessing who did it.   Hope I am up to the challenge, its the most involved plot I have attempted.

Try asking your question at these websites:

The Writer's Forensic Blog: www.writersforensicblog.wordpress.com

Forensics for Writers: www.forensics4writers.com


I didn't find either The Forensic Writers Blog or Forensics for Writers all that helpful. I don't know why I've just spent half an hour researching DNA on wet cigarette butts- just a curious sort of person. All I found was that DNA can last as long as the saliva does. Saliva can last 4-15 days at room temperature or up to 30 days in the cold, but rain could easily wash the saliva off. Rain definitely can wash away finger and shoe prints. 

Thanks Jeanie, I also did not find those blogs helpful.

If I were in control of the story, and I didn't care if I angered any forensic pathologists out there, I'd take the DNA evidence where I wanted it to go:

"Through some miracle of science, the butt had the DNA we were looking for..."


"Try as we may, there simply was no way to retrieve the DNA we knew was once there."


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