Maggot Crop Contents in Identifying Unknown Cadavers. Journal of Medical entomology

Journal Article
Almeaiweed, Zainab Mohammad, Reem Alajmi, Mohammed Alkuriji, Dina Metwally, Walid Kaakeh, and Nasser . 2020
Publication Work Type: 
Master
Magazine \ Newspaper: 
Journal of Medical Entomology
Publication Abstract: 

Forensic entomology focuses on the analysis of insect larvae present at crime scenes to help identify unknown cadavers. Carrion-feeding maggots store food in a crop located at the anterior end of the gut. DNA recovered from the crop can be amplified, sequenced, and identified to determine the origin of the food. This information could help investigators to identify a missing victim if maggots are discovered at a crime scene in the absence of a corpse. Chrysomya albiceps (Wiedemann) and Musca domestica (Linnaeus) are primary forensic species. Little or no information on the identification of unknown cadavers using C. albiceps and M. domestica larvae is available, and we aimed to compare the effectiveness of using the crop contents of instars of C. albiceps and M. domestica larvae to identify corpses at different time intervals. Two hundred and forty larvae of both species were reared on rat and/or mouse liver, and DNA from crop contents was extracted after different time intervals from different instar larvae. DNA was amplified using specific primers that match the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (mt COI) gene of the food source. Results showed that food provided to larvae affected life span and the ability to be used to identify unknown cadavers. Chrysomya albiceps larvae proved more useful than M. domestica larvae. Moreover, crop contents of third instar larvae of both species fed for 24 h are more useful than contents from other time intervals in identifying unknown tissues. Results are promising and may help investigators to identify unknown/missing victims.