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Human Microbiome Species and Genes for Human Identification

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2018
14 pages
This report describes the findings and methodology of a project that sought to develop an initial targeted multiplex skin microbiome panel that has the potential to yield DNA distinctive to microbiome transferred by a suspect to items touched at the crime scene.

Some studies already support that bacterial signatures potentially may allow characterization to some degree of the human hosts who shed their microbes, along with human DNA, onto an item. These studies to characterize the microbiome primarily adopt one of two approaches, i.e., targeted 16S rRNZA gene; however, it is likely that more genetic information is needed to obtain a bacterial DNA profile sufficient for high resolution or high accuracy associations for human identity testing. The studies that use whole genome sequencing (WGS) metagenomics sequencing take a different approach. WGS provides the possibility of sequencing the entire genome of a single microorganism or an entire met genome of many microorganisms in a given sample, thus providing higher resolution. The current study proposes a combination of positive aspects of these two strategies. A single target gene and whole genome may provide the sensitivity, robustness, and discrimination necessary for supporting high-resolution human identity (host) testing. This approach is essentially targeted genomic in surveying the variety of a subset of microorganisms and selected markers present in a sample. The studies described in this report were successful and met the goals of the project to develop an initial targeted multiplex skin microbiome panel that potentially could be used for human identification. This multiplex is the first targeted panel, i.e., hidSkinPlex, designed to generate individual skin microbiome genetic profiles for forensic human identification. 10 references and a listing of publications related to this project

Date Published: September 1, 2018