This first episode of the new R&D Season of Just Science podcasts presents an interview with Dr. Bruce Budowie - the Executive Director of the Institute of Applied Genetics and Professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center - who discusses research on human microbiome flora and their implications for forensic science.
Budowie discusses his research in process on human skin microbiomes for human identification. The interview focuses on Budowie's search for bacterial microbes that are genetically distinctive for each individual or family. The research involves identifying and discarding microbiomes transferred to human skin from sources other than the distinctive genetics of an individual. Many microbiomes are transferred to human skin from a particular environment or other people with whom a subject has had contact. Although these microbiomes are then abundantly transferred by the subject to objects and persons they touch, these microbes are not genetically distinctive to the subject, so they are useless for subject identification. Budowie is continuing to search for the existence of genetically based microbiomes on human skin.