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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Molecular Taxonomic Keys – Are They the Solution for Species Identification in Forensic Entomology?

item Samarakoon, S. Upeka - UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA
item Skoda, Steven
item Baxendale, Frederick - UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA

Submitted to: Molecular Insect Science International Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: May 20, 2006
Publication Date: May 23, 2006
Citation: Samarakoon, S., Skoda, S.R., Baxendale, F.P., Foster, J.E. 2006. Molecular taxonomic keys – Are they the solution for species identification in forensic entomology [abstract]? In: Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Molecular Insect Science, Tucson, Arizona. p. 74.

Interpretive Summary: None required.

Technical Abstract: A functional diagnostic technique must have the ability to unambiguously identify and differentiate insect species. Insect species developing in cadavers are often used to estimate the time since death or postmortem interval (PMI). Accurate identification of the species involved is essential, but extremely difficult especially in the earlier instars because of their small size, similarity in appearance, and simplicity in external morphology. Standardization of insect molecular identification is an important process for the growth of the field as well as increasing its applicability in the field, especially for the legal process. Therefore, determination keys based on molecular genetic data complement and can generally improve the accuracy of species identification. We examined the utility of the mitochondrial Cytochrome Oxidase I (COI) and COII regions for developing a molecular taxonomic key to differentiate nine species of blow flies commonly found in Southeastern Nebraska. Primary screwworm, house fly, stable fly and fall armyworm were used as outliers in the study. Ten restriction enzymes were investigated for fragment length polymorphisms among species. The key developed from these data provides a simple three step process to compare restriction patterns and differentiate the species in question.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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