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A bid by Massey University researchers to showcase the latest DNA sequencing technologies for students around New Zealand may help copile a census of microbial life in the nation's soils. It could also spark new interest in having a national database of soil microbes NDA of potential use for forensic work.

Samples could be as small as a piece of dirt on the sole of a shoe or the tread of a tyre, or soil stains on clothing.

'In a pilot study we found 90 percent similarity between microbes in soil on a shoe and microbes in the shoe print, compared with 40 percent on control site... Probably the most useful thing would be where you have [to] look for a match between a shoe and a shoeprint at a crime scene.' -Dr. Jacqui Horswell

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