Forensic microbiology is rapidly emerging as a novel tool for human identification. The human microbiome, comprising diverse microbial communities including fungi, bacteria, protozoa, and viruses, is unique to each individual, offering a new dimension to forensic investigations. While traditional identification methods primarily rely on DNA profiling and fingerprint analysis, they face limitations when complete DNA or fingerprints profiles are unattainable or degraded. In this context, the microbial signatures of the human skin microbiome present a promising alternative due to their resilience to environmental stresses and individual-specific composition. This review explores the potential of microbiome analysis in forensic human identification, evaluating its applications, advantages, limitations, and future prospects. The uniqueness of an individual’s microbial community, particularly the skin microbiota, can provide distinctive biological markers for identification purposes, while technological advancements like 16 S rRNA sequencing and metagenomic shotgun sequencing are enhancing the specificity of microbial identification, enabling detailed analysis of these complex ecological communities. Despite these promising findings, current research has not yet achieved a level of identification probability that could establish microbial analysis as a stand-alone evidence tool. Therefore, it is presently considered ancillary to traditional methods, contributing to a more comprehensive biological profile of individuals.

Exploring the role of the human microbiome in forensic identification: opportunities and challenges / L. Franceschetti, G. Lodetti, A. Blandino, A. Amadasi, V. Bugelli. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LEGAL MEDICINE. - ISSN 0937-9827. - (2024), pp. 1-15. [Epub ahead of print] [10.1007/s00414-024-03217-z]

Exploring the role of the human microbiome in forensic identification: opportunities and challenges

L. Franceschetti
Co-primo
;
G. Lodetti
Co-primo
;
2024

Abstract

Forensic microbiology is rapidly emerging as a novel tool for human identification. The human microbiome, comprising diverse microbial communities including fungi, bacteria, protozoa, and viruses, is unique to each individual, offering a new dimension to forensic investigations. While traditional identification methods primarily rely on DNA profiling and fingerprint analysis, they face limitations when complete DNA or fingerprints profiles are unattainable or degraded. In this context, the microbial signatures of the human skin microbiome present a promising alternative due to their resilience to environmental stresses and individual-specific composition. This review explores the potential of microbiome analysis in forensic human identification, evaluating its applications, advantages, limitations, and future prospects. The uniqueness of an individual’s microbial community, particularly the skin microbiota, can provide distinctive biological markers for identification purposes, while technological advancements like 16 S rRNA sequencing and metagenomic shotgun sequencing are enhancing the specificity of microbial identification, enabling detailed analysis of these complex ecological communities. Despite these promising findings, current research has not yet achieved a level of identification probability that could establish microbial analysis as a stand-alone evidence tool. Therefore, it is presently considered ancillary to traditional methods, contributing to a more comprehensive biological profile of individuals.
Forensic identification; Forensic microbiology; Human microbiome; Microbiota profiling; Personal identification
Settore MED/43 - Medicina Legale
2024
10-apr-2024
Article (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/1051654
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