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The potential use of bacterial community succession in forensics as described by high throughput metagenomic sequencing

Permanent URL:
http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/58710
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Abstract:
Decomposition studies of vertebrate remains primarily focus on data that can be seen with the naked eye, such as arthropod or vertebrate scavenger activity, with little regard for what might be occurring with the microorganism community. Here, we discuss the necrobiome, or community of organisms associated with the decomposition of remains, specifically, the “epinecrotic” bacterial community succession throughout decomposition of vertebrate carrion. Pyrosequencing was used to (1) detect and identify bacterial community abundance patterns that described discrete time points of the decomposition process and (2) identify bacterial taxa important for estimating physiological time, a time–temperature metric that is often commensurate with minimum post-mortem interval estimates, via thermal summation models. There were significant bacterial community structure differences in taxon richness and relative abundance patterns through the decomposition process at both phylum and family taxonomic classification levels. We found a significant negative linear relationship for overall phylum and family taxon richness as decomposition progressed. Additionally, we developed a statistical model using high throughput sequencing data of epinecrotic bacterial communities on vertebrate remains that explained 94.4 % of the time since placement of remains in the field, which was within 2–3 h of death. These bacteria taxa are potentially useful for estimating the minimum post-mortem interval. Lastly, we provide a new framework and standard operating procedure of how this novel approach of using high throughput metagenomic sequencing has remarkable potential as a new forensic tool. Documenting and identifying differences in bacterial communities is key to advancing knowledge of the carrion necrobiome and its applicability in forensic science.
Author(s):
Jennifer L. Pechal , Tawni L. Crippen , M. Eric Benbow , Aaron M. Tarone , Scot Dowd , Jeffery K. Tomberlin
Subject(s):
arthropods , bacteria , bacterial communities , community structure , dead animals , death , metagenomics , models , sequence analysis , species diversity , vertebrates
Note:
USDA Scientist Submission
Source:
International Journal of Legal Medicine 2013 6 10 v.128
Language:
English
Year:
2013
Collection:
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
Rights:
Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.