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mtDNA-based Identification of Lucilia Cuprina (Wiedemann) and Lucilia Sericata (Meigen) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) in the Continental United States

NCJ Number
Forensic Science International Volume: 202 Issue: 1-3 Dated: October 2010 Pages: 102-109
Date Published
October 2010
8 pages

In this study, researchers conclude that it is possible to distinguish between Lucilia cuprina (Wiedemann) and Lucilia sericata (Meigen) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) using mtDNA-based identification procedures.


In this study, researchers find that a fragment of the mitochondrial COI gene spanning approximately 1200 base pairs is sufficient to discriminate between Lucilia cuprina (Wiedemann) and Lucilia sericata (Meigen) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) with greater than 95% bootstrap support. The phylogenetic results strongly support the hypothesis that L. cuprina and L. sericata can be discriminated using mtDNA sequence data. Existing data suggest that the forensically important dipteran species Lucilia cuprina (Wiedemann) and Lucilia sericata (Meigen) may be particularly difficult to discriminate using DNA sequence data. L. cuprina is paraphyletic with respect to L. sericata in mtDNA phylogenies, with some L. cuprina having mtDNA haplotypes that are very similar to those of L. sericata. In this study, researchers examine this problem by providing the first DNA data for L. cuprina from North America, including portions of both the mitochondrial COI gene and the nuclear 28S rRNA gene. With the new data, L. cuprina remains monophyletic for 28S but paraphyletic with respect to L. sericata for COI. However, the researchers find that all flies that are identified as L. cuprina by morphology and have L. sericata-like mtDNA form a distinctly monophyletic mtDNA clade. This clade may possibly have originated by hybridization between L. cuprina and L. sericata, but its wide geographic distribution strongly suggests a singular origin as opposed to repeated incidents of hybridization. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: October 1, 2010