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Numerous studies relate differences in microbial communities to human health and disease; however, little is known about microbial changes that occur postmortem or the possible applications of microbiome analysis in the field of forensic science. The aim of this review was to study the microbiome and its applications in forensic sciences and to determine the main lines of investigation that are emerging, as well as its possible contributions to the forensic field. A systematic review of the human microbiome in relation to forensic science was carried out by following PRISMA guidelines. This study sheds light on the role of microbiome research in the postmortem interval during the process of decomposition, identifying death caused by drowning or sudden death, locating the geographical location of death, establishing a connection between the human microbiome and personal items, sexual contact, and the identification of individuals. Actinomycetaceae, Bacteroidaceae, Alcaligenaceae, and Bacilli play an important role in determining the postmortem interval. Aeromonas can be used to determine the cause of death, and Corynebacterium or Helicobacter pylori can be used to ascertain personal identity or geographical location. Several studies point to a promising future for microbiome analysis in the different fields of forensic science, opening up an important new area of research. Copyright © 2020 American Society for Microbiology.


Manuel G García, María D Pérez-Cárceles, Eduardo Osuna, Isabel Legaz. Impact of the Human Microbiome in Forensic Sciences: a Systematic Review. Applied and environmental microbiology. 2020 Oct 28;86(22)

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PMID: 32887714

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