by blogger cfl
As you may know, your skin has "normal flora" bacteria living on it. This bacteria is beneficial to your health, but may also be used to identify you, according to emerging research. Scientists at the University of Colorado at Boulder are developing a method to identify individuals based on the unique bacteria found on their hands. When the amount of human DNA is too small to detect, bacterial DNA could be used in its place. Bacteria can be collected directly from hands or even touched surfaces and the DNA can be sequenced just like human DNA. The scientists found that very few bacteria were shared among test subjects. Even identical twins have different colonies of bacteria on their hands! Bacteria remain on our hands no matter how many times we wash them, so why not use them?
Could forensic scientists become forensic microbiologists within a few years?
|..."Each one of us leaves a unique trail of bugs behind as we travel through our daily lives," said Fierer, an assistant professor in CU-Boulder's ecology and evolutionary biology department.|
....unless there is blood, tissue, semen or saliva on an object, it's often difficult to obtain sufficient human DNA for forensic identification, said Fierer. But given the abundance of bacterial cells on the skin surface, it may be easier to recover bacterial DNA than human DNA from touched surfaces, they said. "Our technique could provide another independent line of evidence."
...The new technique would even be useful for identifying objects touched by identical twins, since they share identical DNA but they have different bacterial communities on their hands.
Who knew that the bacteria we try to avoid at all costs could become a type of forensic evidence?