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.
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