DNA Barcoding in Forensic Botany

  • Mohamed Rizk Enan


Forensic botany is an interdisciplinary area where the knowledge of botany is applied to solve the crime. The ambitious idea of using DNA barcoding for large-scale species identification is already a powerful tool for scientists, and the application of this standard technique appears promising in a range of fields including forensic genetics. Botanical evidence can provide useful leads in forensic investigations; however, many plant materials cannot be identified to the species level only by morphological features. Taking advantage of DNA sequencing and other biomolecular techniques, exact identification of plants becomes useful in selected cases in court producing successful results. Forensic botany can provide significant supporting evidence during criminal investigations. The ubiquitous presence of plant species can be useful in forensics, but the absence of an accurate identification system remains the major obstacle to the present inability to routinely and correctly identify trace botanical evidence. Many plant materials cannot be identified and differentiated to the species level by traditional morphological characteristics when botanical specimens are degraded and lack physical features. By taking advantage of a universal barcode system, DNA sequencing, and other biomolecular techniques used routinely in forensic investigations, two chloroplast DNA regions were evaluated for their use as “barcoding” markers for plant identification in the field of forensics. In this chapter, we review (1) the use of DNA barcoding in forensics, (2) subdisciplines of forensic botany, (3) the history and potential of pollen in forensic studies, (4) DNA barcoding for timber identification, (5) DNA barcoding of pollen grains, and (6) the use of plant forensics in death investigation.


Forensic Plant barcoding Phylogenetic analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Molecular Genetics, Biology DepartmentUnited Arab Emirates UniversityAl-AinUAE

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