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University of Maryland School of Medicine publishes scientific paper on 2001 anthrax attacks
Date:5/3/2011

c fingerprint," says Dr. Keim, of Northern Arizona University. "It could link microbial evidence to its potential source."

"The science was one technique used to generate leads as part of a larger FBI investigation," says Dr. Ravel. "Science tells us the spore came from that particular flask, but it's important to note that the science never pointed to Bruce Ivins. It was police work that did that."

As one of the first and most high-profile investigations of its kind, Amerithrax has helped to shape the emerging field of microbial forensics. Since the case, Dr. Ravel, Dr. Rasko and their colleagues at the Institute for Genome Sciences have been leaders in the scientific community's effort to expand the field by contributing to the development of standards and guidelines for future investigations.

"We were figuring this out as we went along," says Dr. Rasko. "For example, to produce evidence that will hold up in criminal court, you need a very high standard of accuracy with well validated methodologies. It is a much higher standard than our own academic research. Your results need to be completely foolproof and stand in a court of law. Those are the kinds of standards and guidelines we're developing now, so that microbial forensic scientists can be prepared in the event of another biological attack."


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Contact: Karen Robinson
karobinson@som.umaryland.edu
410-706-7590
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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