About this Research Topic
Although of great promise, the use of microbes (and their associated molecules; i.e. DNA, RNA, metabolites and proteins) in forensics faces some hurdles that need to be further studied and overcome. These include technical aspects, such as the lack of consensus in experimental and analytical methods, which hinder the comparability of the results between studies. Also, appropriate forensic validation should be carried out before the microbes are brought to court. However, the future seems promising for microbial forensics. The current multiomics era allows analysis of microbes from different perspectives which, combined, can reveal the great complexity of the microbial world and the events they witness. Moreover, forensic application-based studies can enormously benefit from the continuous flux of novel bioinformatics and statistical tools for the analysis of microbes, many of which incorporate artificial intelligence methods. As a result, more researchers from both within and outside the forensic community are turning their attention to microbial forensics. In this Research Topic, they are invited to share their research outcomes with the community and, altogether, work towards the integration of microbes into the forensic toolkit.
We invite interdisciplinary submissions that cover a wide range of topics related to novel or improved applications, methods and perspectives on the use of microbes in forensic science. Researchers may contribute Reviews/Mini Reviews, Original Research or Methods articles on the following (but not limited to) topics:
• New or improved applications of microbes (and their associated molecules; i.e. DNA, RNA, metabolites and proteins) in forensic science. These include, but are not limited to post-mortem interval estimation, cause of death, tissue/body fluid identification, time since stain deposition, individual identification, individual phenotype inference, geolocation and tracing source of infection.
• Analyses of microbes from different habitats that can answer forensically relevant questions. These include, but are not limited to environmental microbes, human-associated microbes and other animal associated microbes.
• Innovative methods to study microbes in forensics. These encompass wet-lab and dry-lab methods.
• Microbial forensics validation studies.
• Ethical, legal and social implications of including microbes in the forensic toolkit.
Keywords: Microbes, Microbial forensics, Next-generation sequencing, Multiomics, Artificial intelligence
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.