Validation of a DNA-based method for identifying Chrysomyinae (Diptera: Calliphoridae) used in a death investigation

Authors: Wells, Jeffrey; Williams, Diana

Source: International Journal of Legal Medicine, Volume 121, Number 1, January 2007 , pp. 1-8(8)

Publisher: Springer

Buy & download fulltext article:


Price: $47.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Many authors have proposed DNA-based methods for identifying an insect specimen associated with human remains. However, almost no attempt has been made to validate these methods using additional observations. We tested a protocol for identifying insects in the blow fly subfamily Chrysomyinae (Diptera: Calliphoridae) often found to be associated with a human corpse in Canada or the USA. This method uses phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence from a short segment of the mitochondrial gene for cytochrome oxidase one (COI). Test chrysomyine COI sequences were obtained from 245 newly sequenced specimens and 51 specimens from the published literature. Published sequences from representatives of nonchrysomyine genera were also included to check for the possibility of a false positive identification. All of the chrysomyine test haplotypes were correctly identified with strong statistical support, and there were no false positives. This method appears to be an accurate and robust technique for identifying chrysomyine species from a death investigation in this geographic region. The far northern species Protophormia atriceps was not evaluated; therefore, caution is required in applying this method at very high latitudes in North America.

Keywords: Cytochrome oxidase; Forensic entomology; Mitochondrial DNA; Phylogeny; Species determination

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2007

Related content


Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content

Text size:

A | A | A | A
Share this item with others: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. print icon Print this page