Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 12th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Killer's Fingerprint
14 August 2015

Killer's Fingerprint

Genetic fingerprinting is best known as a way of detecting crime – but may also be used to track down potential killers inside our bodies. We all have friendly bacteria in our digestive system but sometimes villainous bugs sneak in with the crowd – such as Helicobacter pylori (pictured, false-coloured orange), which can cause chronic gastritis and is believed to increase the risk of the stomach cancer, adenocarcinoma. In a laboratory experiment, human stomach cells were infected with these sausage-shaped bacteria, causing damage to the cells’ DNA. When this changed DNA was compared with that of a range of human cancer cells, there was a marked similarity with adenocarcinoma cells. This type of genetic fingerprinting could help to identify which bacteria in our bodies are potential killers, so that infections can be treated with more urgency.

Written by Mick Warwicker

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.