Jump to Main Content
Microbiome Tools for Forensic Science
- Metcalf, Jessica L., Xu, Zhenjiang Z., Bouslimani, Amina, Dorrestein, Pieter, Carter, David O., Knight, Rob
- Trends in biotechnology 2017
- algorithms, artificial intelligence, crime, forensic sciences, metabolomics, microbiome, microorganisms, models, postmortem changes, sequence analysis, social justice, soil
- Microbes are present at every crime scene and have been used as physical evidence for over a century. Advances in DNA sequencing and computational approaches have led to recent breakthroughs in the use of microbiome approaches for forensic science, particularly in the areas of estimating postmortem intervals (PMIs), locating clandestine graves, and obtaining soil and skin trace evidence. Low-cost, high-throughput technologies allow us to accumulate molecular data quickly and to apply sophisticated machine-learning algorithms, building generalizable predictive models that will be useful in the criminal justice system. In particular, integrating microbiome and metabolomic data has excellent potential to advance microbial forensics.