Using the Microbiome to Determine Time of Death (starts at 5:40): This week on How on Earth, we speak with Jessica Metcalf, an evolutionary biologist, who studies bacteria, specifically the microbiome. One of her research interests is using molecular biology to address basic hypotheses about the role of microbes in corpse decomposition. The time since death, or postmortem interval, also known as (PMI), is important for criminal investigations because it can lead to the identification of the deceased and validate alibis. PMI is critical to both forensic science and pop culture (e.g. TV shows Bones, CSI). Recently she co-authored a paper published in Science, describing how various species of the microbiome can be used to accurately and repeatedly determine the post-mortem interval.
Host: Beth Bennett
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Joel Parker
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