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Forensic microbiology and bite marks: a systematic review

Bruna Moitas, Ines Morais Caldas, Benedita Sampaio-Maia

Abstract


The forensic microbiology role in bite marks’ analysis as evidence in a court of law has not yet been explored, being the analysis of bite marks mostly morphology based. The aim of this systematic review is to investigate if the analysis of the oral microbiota may be helpful as a forensic complementary tool. Articles were searched on the PubMed database, using predefined data fields and keywords. The final selection included a total of 6 papers (out of 42). Our results indicated that the Streptococcus genus is a key player in the analysis of the bite mark microbiology in a forensic perspective and its genomic analysis may facilitate the association of a bite mark to the perpetrator. However, much more research is still needed before this forensic strategy can be applied in real scenarios. There is a need to optimize and standardize the methods of microbiome analysis and to determine several factors that may influence the results, such as the frequency of bacterial genotypes in the human population and the temporal stability of the oral microbiome in human skin.

Keywords


Forensic sciences, Human identification, Forensic Microbiology, Human microbiome, Bite marks, Streptococcus

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