Recently, the human microbiome has been studied for applications in human identification and its potential transfer to various surfaces. However, there has been little research on the genital microbiome, which physiologically differs from other body sites, and has great potential value in cases of sexual assault.
As per Locard’s Principle of Exchange, the genital microbiome may indicate proof of sexual contact between two individuals, and then be used as evidence within criminal casework.
Ten monogamous couples were recruited to participate in a Pre-/Post-Coital study where genital swabs of the vaginal labia, vaginal vault, and penile shaft were self-collected before and after sexual intercourse.
The samples were examined for the presence of genital-specific target species, including L. iners, L. gasseri, L. jensenii, and L. crispatus, and Gardnerella vaginalis, which are known for composing the bulk of the vaginal microbiome.
The results can be used to examine the specificity of additional bacterial species to the genital area as well as demonstrate the transfer of specific bacterial species between partners.
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