A trail of microbes

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Science  11 Mar 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6278, pp. 1136-1137
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6278.1136

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Humans carry a highly personal mix of hundreds of bacterial species that live in and on their bodies, and they shed these bacteria wherever they go. Some scientists think analyzing the molecular signature from these microbiomes might one day be used to place someone at a crime scene. The research field is still in its infancy, and some doubt that microbiomes are so individual that they can distinguish every human being. But even if they can't uniquely identify a person, the data could be used to build up a picture of an unknown suspect because the microbiome varies by gender, age, origin, and lifestyle.