Molecular analysis of trace botanical evidence is a developing forensic discipline. Traditionally, the morphology of plant debris has been examined for useful forensic data. The composition of a trace evidence sample may provide leads as to the geographic location or general environmental conditions of the sample origin. However, the identification of forensic botanicals is often confounded by the lack of morphological characters. The use of genetic markers has the potential to overcome shortcomings associated with traditional botanical forensics. Depending on the forensic sample's composition, a single DNA sequence or numerous DNA sequences can be determined from a single collection of trace evidence. Using sequences in public databases, taxonomic placement of the sequences determined from the forensic material is often possible. The distribution and ecology of the identified taxa can then be used to infer information about the geographic origin of the forensic evidence.

Key words: botanical forensics, DNA identification, molecular systematics