Identification of Forensically Important Calliphoridae and Sarcophagidae Species Collected in Korea Using SNaPshot Multiplex System Targeting the Cytochrome c Oxidase Subunit I Gene.
ABSTRACT: Estimation of postmortem interval (PMI) is paramount in modern forensic investigation. After the disappearance of the early postmortem phenomena conventionally used to estimate PMI, entomologic evidence provides important indicators for PMI estimation. The age of the oldest fly larvae or pupae can be estimated to pinpoint the time of oviposition, which is considered the minimum PMI (PMImin). The development rate of insects is usually temperature dependent and species specific. Therefore, species identification is mandatory for PMImin estimation using entomological evidence. The classical morphological identification method cannot be applied when specimens are damaged or have not yet matured. To overcome this limitation, some investigators employ molecular identification using mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) nucleotide sequences. The molecular identification method commonly uses Sanger's nucleotide sequencing and molecular phylogeny, which are complex and time consuming and constitute another obstacle for forensic investigators. In this study, instead of using conventional Sanger's nucleotide sequencing, single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the COI gene region, which are unique between fly species, were selected and targeted for single-base extension (SBE) technology. These SNPs were genotyped using a SNaPshot® kit. Eleven Calliphoridae and seven Sarcophagidae species were covered. To validate this genotyping, fly DNA samples (103 adults, 84 larvae, and 4 pupae) previously confirmed by DNA barcoding were used. This method worked quickly with minimal DNA, providing a potential alternative to conventional DNA barcoding. Consisting of only a few simple electropherogram peaks, the results were more straightforward compared with those of the conventional DNA barcoding produced by Sanger's nucleotide sequencing.
Project description:Necrophagous fly species are commonly used as forensic tools to estimate the minimum postmortem interval (PMImin). Many researchers raised necrophagous flies under constant temperature regimes to collect their developmental data. However, in most forensic cases, the ambient temperature fluctuates. In order to investigate a forensically important fly developmental mode (the Isomegalen diagram, Isomorphen diagram and Thermal summation models) and make comparisons of the developmental rate between constant temperatures and fluctuating temperatures, we used Aldrichina grahami (Diptera: Calliphoridae) to investigate the life history parameters at eight constant temperatures ranging from 8 to 36 °C. We also compared developmental rate of A. grahami in three groups of constant versus fluctuating temperatures: 8 °C vs. 6-12 °C, 12 °C vs. 10-16 °C, and 16 °C vs. 14-20 °C. Our data showed that A. grahami is cold tolerant with a mean (±SE) development threshold temperature (D0) of 3.41 ± 0.48 °C and a thermal summation constant (K) of 8125.2 ± 288.4-degree hours. The three groups subjected to fluctuating temperatures took longer to develop compared to those developing in constant temperatures when simulated in a model. These results not only provide detailed developmental data for the use of A. grahami in the estimation of the PMI, but also indicate that ambient temperature fluctuation must be taken into consideration for the use of all necrophagous fly species.
Project description:The occurrence of dipteran fly, Chrysomyamegacephala (Fabricius, 1794) is reported for the first time from Royapuram fishing harbour (Chennai), Tamil Nadu, South East India. The fully grown third instar larvae of Chrysomyamegacephala were collected from decaying fishes near Royapuram fishing harbour. This site is found to be the regular breeding site for Chrysomyamegacephala. Larvae were reared under laboratory condition and freshly emerged adult flies from pupae were collected and identified by morphological features and molecular tools. Molecular identification through generation of DNA barcoding using mitochondrial COI gene of Chrysomyamegacephala is appended.
Project description:Medicolegal entomology-a subfield of forensic entomology-is mainly used in medicolegal investigations to estimate the postmortem interval (PMI). The minimum PMI of a corpse invaded by necrophagous immature insects can be estimated because the PMI is near to or earlier than the oviposition time of the larvae that hatched and fed on the corpse. As the growth speeds of larvae differ depending on temperature and species, species-specific growth data are used to estimate the minimum PMI. While morphological identification of adult necrophagous flies can be done by a well-trained entomologist, identification of larvae is relatively difficult. Larvae can only be identified up to the family level and developmental stage by observing the posterior spiracles. For these reasons, the molecular biology method of DNA barcoding has been developed. DNA barcoding that targets the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene is commonly used. COI sequences are currently acquired using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Sanger sequencing, which are too time-consuming and complex for practical use in medicolegal investigations. To compensate for these limitations and facilitate the use of entomology for medicolegal investigation, we designed a multiplex real-time PCR system to identify nineteen forensically important species of Calliphoridae and Sarcophagidae flies collected in South Korea. In contrast to the Sanger nucleotide sequencing process, this technology only requires a one-step real-time PCR with melt curve analysis of amplicons generated by primers targeting species-specific single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Multiplex real-time PCR was performed for twelve species of Calliphoridae (four reactions) and for seven species of Sarcophagidae (three reactions). This assay is expected to make it easier and faster for investigating authorities to identify major species of necrophagous flies at beginning of investigation and to increase the utilization of entomological evidence in forensic investigations.
Project description:Flesh flies (Sarcophagidae) are necrophagous insects initially colonizing on a corpse. The species-specific developmental data of the flies collected from a death scene can be used to estimate the minimum postmortem interval (PMImin). Thus, the first crucial step is to correctly identify the fly species. Because of the high similarity among species of flesh flies, DNA-based identification is considered more favorable than morphology-based identification. In this study, we demonstrated the effectiveness of combined sequences (2216 to 2218 bp) of cytochrome c oxidase subunit I and II genes (COI and COII) for identification of the following 14 forensically important flesh fly species in Thailand: Boettcherisca nathani Lopes, Fengia ostindicae (Senior-White), Harpagophalla kempi (Senior-White), Liopygia ruficornis (Fabricius), Lioproctia pattoni (Senior-White), Lioproctia saprianovae (Pape & Bänziger), Parasarcophaga albiceps (Meigen), Parasarcophaga brevicornis (Ho), Parasarcophaga dux (Thomson), Parasarcophaga misera (Walker), Sarcorohdendorfia antilope (Böttcher), Sarcorohdendorfia inextricata (Walker), Sarcorohdendorfia seniorwhitei (Ho) and Seniorwhitea princeps (Wiedemann). Nucleotide variations of Thai flesh flies were evenly distributed throughout the COI-COII genes. Mean intra- and interspecific variations ranged from 0.00 to 0.96% and 5.22% to 12.31%, respectively. Using Best Match (BM) and Best Close Match (BCM) criteria, identification success for the combined genes was 100%, while the All Species Barcodes (ASB) criterion showed 76.74% success. Maximum Likelihood (ML) and Bayesian Inference (BI) phylogenetic analyses yielded similar tree topologies of monophyletic clades between species with very strong support values. The achieved sequences covering 14 forensically important flesh fly species including newly submitted sequences for B. nathani, F. ostindicae and S. seniorwhitei, can serve as a reliable reference database for further forensic entomological research in Thailand and in other areas where those species occur.
Project description:BACKGROUND:We compared here the suitability and efficacy of traditional morphological approach and DNA barcoding to distinguish filarioid nematodes species (Nematoda, Spirurida). A reliable and rapid taxonomic identification of these parasites is the basis for a correct diagnosis of important and widespread parasitic diseases. The performance of DNA barcoding with different parameters was compared measuring the strength of correlation between morphological and molecular identification approaches. Molecular distance estimation was performed with two different mitochondrial markers (coxI and 12S rDNA) and different combinations of data handling were compared in order to provide a stronger tool for easy identification of filarioid worms. RESULTS:DNA barcoding and morphology based identification of filarioid nematodes revealed high coherence. Despite both coxI and 12S rDNA allow to reach high-quality performances, only coxI revealed to be manageable. Both alignment algorithm, gaps treatment, and the criteria used to define the threshold value were found to affect the performance of DNA barcoding with 12S rDNA marker. Using coxI and a defined level of nucleotide divergence to delimit species boundaries, DNA barcoding can also be used to infer potential new species. CONCLUSION:An integrated approach allows to reach a higher discrimination power. The results clearly show where DNA-based and morphological identifications are consistent, and where they are not. The coherence between DNA-based and morphological identification for almost all the species examined in our work is very strong. We propose DNA barcoding as a reliable, consistent, and democratic tool for species discrimination in routine identification of parasitic nematodes.
Project description:Termites of the genus Macrotermes (Termitidae: Macrotermitinae) are serious agricultural and structural pests, which also play vital roles in ecosystem functioning, and are crucial for the maintenance of tropical biodiversity. They are widely distributed, mainly in Southeast Asian countries; however, the parasitism of termites has been little researched. This research was conducted to identify and study the ecology of the parasitoids of termites at Kasetsart University, Kamphaeng Saen Campus, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. Macrotermes gilvus (Hagen) soldier termites were collected from 25 mounds. In four of the 25 mounds, scuttle fly larvae were found inside the bodies of the soldier termites, and adult flies were found in all of the mounds. Some of the larvae successfully developed to pupae under laboratory conditions. The percentages of parasitized major soldier termites collected from the four mounds were 43.79%, 47.43%, 0.86%, and 3.49%, respectively, and the percentages of parasitized minor soldier termites were 0.64%, 0.00%, 0.21%, and 0.00%, respectively. Larvae, pupae, and adult flies were identified using both morphological and molecular identifications. Molecular identification used the partial nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) gene. The results of both identification methods identified the parasitic Diptera as the scuttle fly, Megaselia scalaris (Loew) (Diptera: Phoridae). The phylogenetic analysis of the 23 scuttle fly samples (11 larvae, 7 pupae, and 5 adults) classified them into two clades: (1) Those closely related to a previous report in India; (2) those related to M. scalaris found in Asia and Africa. This is the first discovery of M. scalaris in M. gilvus. Further investgation into termite parasitism by M. scalaris and its possible use in the biological control of termites is needed.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) are vectors of Leishmania spp., protozoan parasites responsible for a group of neglected diseases called leishmaniases. Two sand fly genera, Phlebotomus and Sergentomyia, contain species that are present in the Mediterranean islands of Crete and Cyprus where the visceral (VL), cutaneous (CL) and canine (CanLei) leishmaniases are a public health concern. The risk of transmission of different Leishmania species can be studied in an area by monitoring their vectors. Sand fly species are traditionally identified using morphological characteristics but minute differences between individuals or populations could be overlooked leading to wrong epidemiological predictions. Molecular identification of these important vectors has become, therefore, an essential tool for research tasks concerning their geographical distribution which directly relates to leishmaniasis control efforts. DNA barcoding is a widely used molecular identification method for cataloguing animal species by sequencing a fragment of the mitochondrial gene encoding cytochrome oxidase I. RESULTS:DNA barcoding was used to identify individuals of five sand fly species (Phlebotomus papatasi, P. similis, P. killicki, Sergentomyia minuta, S. dentata) circulating in the islands of Crete and Cyprus during the years 2011-2014. Phlebotomus papatasi is a known vector of zoonotic CL in the Middle East and it is found in both islands. Phlebotomus similis is the suspected vector of Leishmania tropica in Greece causing anthroponotic CL. Phlebotomus killicki was collected in Cyprus for the first time. Sergentomyia minuta, found to present intraspecific diversity, is discussed for its potential as a Leishmania vector. Molecular identification was consistent with the morphological identification. It successfully identified males and females, which is difficult when using only morphological characters. A phylogenetic tree was constructed based on the barcodes acquired, representing their genetic relationships along with other species from the area studied. All individuals identified were clustered according to their species and subgenus. CONCLUSIONS:Molecular identification of sand flies via DNA barcoding can accurately identify these medically important insects assisting traditional morphological tools, thus helping to assess their implication in Leishmania transmission.
Project description:Aphids are a species rich group comprising many important pests. However, species identification can be very difficult for aphids due to their morphological ambiguity. DNA barcoding has been widely adopted for rapid and reliable species identification as well as cryptic species detection. In this study, we investigated cryptic diversity in the subfamily Calaphidinae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) based on 899 sequences of cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) for 115 morphospecies (78 species collected in this study and sequences of 73 species downloaded from Genbank). Among these 115 morphospecies, DNA barcoding results of 90 (78.3%) species were identical to results of morphological identification. However, 25 (21.7%) morphospecies showed discrepancies between DNA barcoding and traditional taxonomy. Among these 25 discordances, a total of 15 cryptic species were identified from 12 morphospecies. We also found three morphologically distinct species pairs that sharing DNA barcoding. Based on molecular operational taxonomic unit (MOTU) estimation, we discussed on species delimitation threshold value for these taxa. Our findings confirm that Calaphidinae has high cryptic diversity even though aphids are relatively well-studied.
Project description:An estimation of the post mortem interval (PMI) is frequently touted as the Holy Grail of forensic pathology. During the first hours after death, PMI estimation is dependent on the rate of physical observable modifications including algor, rigor and livor mortis. However, these assessment methods are still largely unreliable and inaccurate. Alternatively, RNA has been put forward as a valuable tool in forensic pathology, namely to identify body fluids, estimate the age of biological stains and to study the mechanism of death. Nevertheless, the attempts to find correlation between RNA degradation and PMI have been unsuccessful. The aim of this study was to characterize the RNA degradation in different post mortem tissues in order to develop a mathematical model that can be used as coadjuvant method for a more accurate PMI determination. For this purpose, we performed an eleven-hour kinetic analysis of total extracted RNA from murine's visceral and muscle tissues. The degradation profile of total RNA and the expression levels of several reference genes were analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR. A quantitative analysis of normalized transcript levels on the former tissues allowed the identification of four quadriceps muscle genes (Actb, Gapdh, Ppia and Srp72) that were found to significantly correlate with PMI. These results allowed us to develop a mathematical model with predictive value for estimation of the PMI (confidence interval of ±51 minutes at 95%) that can become an important complementary tool for traditional methods.
Project description:Sand flies include a group of insects that are of medical importance and that vary in geographic distribution, ecology, and pathogen transmission. Approximately 163 species of sand flies have been reported in Colombia. Surveillance of the presence of sand fly species and the actualization of species distribution are important for predicting risks for and monitoring the expansion of diseases which sand flies can transmit. Currently, the identification of phlebotomine sand flies is based on morphological characters. However, morphological identification requires considerable skills and taxonomic expertise. In addition, significant morphological similarity between some species, especially among females, may cause difficulties during the identification process. DNA-based approaches have become increasingly useful and promising tools for estimating sand fly diversity and for ensuring the rapid and accurate identification of species. A partial sequence of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase gene subunit I (COI) is currently being used to differentiate species in different animal taxa, including insects, and it is referred as a barcoding sequence. The present study explored the utility of the DNA barcode approach for the identification of phlebotomine sand flies in Colombia. We sequenced 700 bp of the COI gene from 36 species collected from different geographic localities. The COI barcode sequence divergence within a single species was <2% in most cases, whereas this divergence ranged from 9% to 26.6% among different species. These results indicated that the barcoding gene correctly discriminated among the previously morphologically identified species with an efficacy of nearly 100%. Analyses of the generated sequences indicated that the observed species groupings were consistent with the morphological identifications. In conclusion, the barcoding gene was useful for species discrimination in sand flies from Colombia.