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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 538051, 8 pages
Methodology Report

Using the Developmental Gene Bicoid to Identify Species of Forensically Important Blowflies (Diptera: Calliphoridae)

1Department of Legal Medicine, College of Medicine, Korea University, 126-1 Anamdong 5-ga, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 136-705, Republic of Korea
2Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, CHA University Medical College, 43 Beolmal 30th-road, Gyeonggi-do, Seongnam 463-836, Republic of Korea
3Beijing Scales Forensic Center, 100 Chaoyangru, Chaoyang-qu, Beijing 100025, China
4Institute of Environmental Ecology, College of Science and Technology, Korea University, 126-1 Anamdong 5-ga, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 136-705, Republic of Korea
5Department of Science Education, Chinju National University of Education, 380 Shinandong, Gyeongsangnam-do, Jinju 660-756, Republic of Korea

Received 19 October 2012; Revised 7 January 2013; Accepted 16 January 2013

Academic Editor: Sanford I. Bernstein

Copyright © 2013 Seong Hwan Park et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Identifying species of insects used to estimate postmortem interval (PMI) is a major subject in forensic entomology. Because forensic insect specimens are morphologically uniform and are obtained at various developmental stages, DNA markers are greatly needed. To develop new autosomal DNA markers to identify species, partial genomic sequences of the bicoid (bcd) genes, containing the homeobox and its flanking sequences, from 12 blowfly species (Aldrichina grahami, Calliphora vicina, Calliphora lata, Triceratopyga calliphoroides, Chrysomya megacephala, Chrysomya pinguis, Phormia regina, Lucilia ampullacea, Lucilia caesar, Lucilia illustris, Hemipyrellia ligurriens and Lucilia sericata; Calliphoridae: Diptera) were determined and analyzed. This study first sequenced the ten blowfly species other than C. vicina and L. sericata. Based on the bcd sequences of these 12 blowfly species, a phylogenetic tree was constructed that discriminates the subfamilies of Calliphoridae (Luciliinae, Chrysomyinae, and Calliphorinae) and most blowfly species. Even partial genomic sequences of about 500 bp can distinguish most blowfly species. The short intron 2 and coding sequences downstream of the bcd homeobox in exon 3 could be utilized to develop DNA markers for forensic applications. These gene sequences are important in the evolution of insect developmental biology and are potentially useful for identifying insect species in forensic science.