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Microbes in forensic medicine: a microbiologist perspective

Deepak Narang*, Reena Kulshreshtra, Fatima Khan, Jaideep Sur, Amit Singh, Vishal Kulkarni, Veena Desai, Abhishek Pandey


Microbial forensics is a naïve branch that involves multi-disciplinary approach to detection, tracing and evidencing the bio crime, with a predominant microbiological approach by studying evidence from inadvertent microorganism or its toxins released in bioterrorism act, biocrime, or for attribution purposes using advanced molecular techniques. Methods for identification and attribution of potential microbial weapons is challenging and forensic microbiological investigations involves crime scene investigation, chain of custody practices, evidence collection, handling and preservation, evidence shipping, analysis of evidence, interpretation of results, and court presentation. This field is emerging as a necessary for civil security rather than optional. In 21st century, pathogens are readily accessible, and technology is making their use as a weapon more feasible. As an preventive measures, it is important to strengthen microbial forensic capabilities. The sharing of data collected and validated will greatly improve the practice of microbial forensics. Forensic scientists worldwide should contribute to the field of microbial forensics and enhance its capabilities to aid in bringing perpetrators of these heinous attacks to justice. International and National collaborative approaches can be done by setting up a national and international reference laboratory, transparency of analysis.


Epidemiology; DNA; crime scene; biocrimes

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