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New way to investigate sex crimes


LINKING the microbial signature of bacterial communities on pubic hair could help investigate sex crimes according to research by Australian scientists.

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In the first study of hair microbiota for forensics, researchers from Murdoch University, Curtin University, and Flinders University in South Australia found that pubic hairs show the most potential for forensic investigations. 

Different areas of our bodies harbor distinct communities of microbe, or microbiota, and it is the significant differences between this microbiota which offer unique bacterial profiles that can distinguish between males, females and individual people.

The researchers argued that the majority of normal hair recovered from crime scenes lack their roots and contain insufficient amounts of human genetic material to carry out DNA profiling of suspects.

In their small study, they found that an individual’s pubic hair microbiota appeared to be transferred during intercourse, suggesting its potential for forensic analysis on sexual assault cases.

The study was published today in the open access journal Investigative Genetics.

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