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'The sexome': Identifying unique microbial signatures in male and female pairings

Nye, Natasha (2020) 'The sexome': Identifying unique microbial signatures in male and female pairings. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Sexual assault is a common, albeit difficult crime to for accurate data capture accurate data. Sexual assault can be reported to specialised clinics that observe, collect and record samples in the form of Early Evidence or Full Forensic Kits. These kits are designed to collect biological evidence from the victim with the hope that some, if any, DNA of the perpetrator is left behind. Males who have been vasectomised, or whose seminal fluid possess azoospermic or oligospermic qualities will seldom leave behind the biological fraction required for methods like differential extraction. As such, studies have moved towards examining the human microbiome as a means for profiling unique bacterial signatures in individuals. Microflora are known to differ all over the human body and harbour specific taxa surrounding different sites. The human skin microbiome is a particularly flourishing medium for numerous phyla of bacteria, detailing specific phyla on its sebaceous, moist and dry parts. While the male urogenital microbiome is linked to properties of the skin microbiota, it has its own bacterial signature that may coincide with some vaginal flora, potentially linked to causing a condition called bacterial vaginosis. The vaginal flora is home to predominantly Lactobacillus taxa which regulates vaginal pH and health. Human microbiome studies could uniquely identify male and female bacterial signatures and their potential for cross-over following sexual intercourse. This could benefit research where sexual assault has occurred where no male DNA is detected.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
Supervisor(s): Chapman, Brendan, O'Dea, Mark and Abraham, Sam
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