JUL 23, 2017 7:59 PM PDT

Microbes as a Tool in Forensic Science

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Forensic science has advanced along with technological advances in genetics and biology. Now that scientists are learning more about the human microbiome, the community of microbes that live in and on our bodies, scientists are also finding that it can be an identifier because it is unique to individuals. Researchers at Harvard University found that 86 percent of people could be reliably identified through the microbes in their stool sample up to a year later.

"Linking a human DNA sample to a database of human DNA 'fingerprints' is the basis for forensic genetics, which is now a decades-old field," said the lead author of the Harvard study, Eric Franzosa. "We've shown that the same sort of linking is possible using DNA sequences from microbes inhabiting the human body -- no human DNA required."

Another interesting tool of forensic science is the blow fly. There are three species of blow fly, and it can be very challenging to differentiate between them. Now a new three-minute diagnostic tool has been introduced for use in forensic science. This new tool can help establish the time of death in a case. Learn more from the video.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
MAY 07, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Your Night Light Could Be a Glowing Plant
MAY 07, 2020
Your Night Light Could Be a Glowing Plant
Glowing plants light themselves up House plants are not just decorations: thanks to science, they might become a part of ...
MAY 08, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Scientists to Spiders: How Do You Handle Sticky (Nanofiber) Situation?
MAY 08, 2020
Scientists to Spiders: How Do You Handle Sticky (Nanofiber) Situation?
The term "biomimicry" describes the models and methods harnessed by scientists to imitate natural element ...
MAY 19, 2020
Space & Astronomy
The Science Behind Eclipses
MAY 19, 2020
The Science Behind Eclipses
A particularly convenient coincidence exists between the relative sizes of the Sun and the Moon, and their distance from ...
MAY 21, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The Nature of Glass Still Dumbfounds Scientists
MAY 21, 2020
The Nature of Glass Still Dumbfounds Scientists
There are many things we humans have come to perfect, but don't yet fully understand. Take glass for example, scientists ...
JUN 08, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Space Agencies Are Developing Novel Space Junk Cleanup Tools
JUN 08, 2020
Space Agencies Are Developing Novel Space Junk Cleanup Tools
There are thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth today, with some residing in Low-Earth Orbit and others following a ...
JUL 13, 2020
Neuroscience
Can COVID-19 Be Diagnosed by Vocal Patterns?
JUL 13, 2020
Can COVID-19 Be Diagnosed by Vocal Patterns?
Researchers from the Lincoln Laboratory have found early evidence that subtle changes in peoples' voices may indicat ...
Loading Comments...