DNA typing from forensic evidence is commonly used to identify individuals. However, when the quantity of the forensic evidence is insufficient, successful identification using DNA typing is impossible. Such evidence may also contain DNA from bacteria that occur naturally on the skin. In this study, we aimed to establish a profiling method using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphisms (T-RFLPs) of the amplified bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene. First, the extraction and digestion processes were investigated, and the T-RFLP profiling method using the 16S rRNA gene amplicon was optimized. We then used this method to compare the profiles of bacterial flora from the hands of 12 different individuals. We found that the T-RFLP profiles from one person on different days displayed higher similarity than those between individuals. In a principal component analysis (PCA), T-RFLPs from each individual were closely clustered in 11 out of 12 cases. The clusters could be distinguished from each other, even when the samples were collected from different conditions. No major change of the profile was observed after six months except in two cases. When handprints on glass plates were compared, 11 of 12 individuals were assigned to a few clusters including the cluster corresponding to the correct individual. In conclusion, a method for reproducible T-RFLP profiling of bacteria from trace amounts of handprints was established. The profiles were obtained for particular individuals clustered in PCA and were experimentally separable from other individuals in most cases. This technique could provide useful information for narrowing down a suspect in a criminal investigation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine