Webinar: Molecular Identification of Insects

November 16, 2021 — Insects are often an important clue when trying to determine post-mortem interval during medicolegal death investigations. But inset larvae are usually very similar morphologically. In a webinar on December 2, presented by the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence, Sam Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. will show how insect identification may be improved through molecular identification by DNA "barcoding".

According to the webinar description, "DNA barcoding has been demonstrated in numerous entomological surveys of forensically relevant species; however, the technology has not been implemented for medicolegal death investigations. This is due in part because of challenges in the technology: no single primer set is capable of distinguishing all of the diverse species important to forensic investigations. This may be remedied by applying multiple primer sets to maximize the number of species that may be identified; however, this may be too resource-intensive for publicly funded laboratories participating in medicolegal death investigations."

The description continues: Kwiatkowski "will demonstrate a DNA barcoding strategy for identifying insects commonly encountered in casework at Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. The strategy encompasses analysis of a fragment amplified from the mitochondrial COI locus from which taxonomic identification may be statistically supported. Targeted species include those that have been previously encountered in our agency’s medicolegal death investigations, in particular members of blow-fly genera Lucilia, Calliphora, Chrysomya, Phormia, and Cochliomyia, the flesh-fly genus Blaesoxipha, and the scuttle fly genus Megaselia."

You can learn more and register here.

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