Entomology, Department of


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Published in J Forensic Sci (January 2013) 58:1, p. 173-178. DOI: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2012.02182.x


Immature blow flies (Calliphoridae) are typically the first colonizers of cadavers. Identification of the early instars using traditional, morphology-based keys is difficult because of their small size, similarity, and simplicity in external morphology. Information derived from molecular genetic data would augment the accurate identification of immature flies. Nine species of blow flies commonly found in southeastern Nebraska were used to examine the utility of molecular-based keys. Polymerase chain reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphisms (PCR–RFLP) were investigated with 10 common, inexpensive, restriction enzymes from an amplicon of approximately 1500 bp spanning the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene. A simple molecular taxonomic key, comprising RFLP from the restriction enzymes HinfI and DraI, enabled the differentiation of all species used. Further development of PCR–RFLP, including more extensive and intensive examination of blow flies, would benefit forensic laboratories in the accurate identification of evidence consisting of immature blow flies.