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Genomic Tools To Reduce Error in PMI Estimates Derived From Entomological Evidence

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2016
29 pages

Methodology and findings are presented for a research project whose goals were to obtain quantitative and functional genetic information for the blow fly, which is a common species used as a forensic indicator of the postmortem interval (PMI) in death investigations.


The rationale for this research is the need to address recent research findings of genetic variation in blow fly development (Gallagher et al., 2010; Tarone et al, 2011; Owings et al., 2014). Currently, little is known about the consequences for PMI estimates of this genetic variation in blow fly traits. In addition, estimates of blow fly age can vary considerably in their accuracy. The current research examined the genetics of development-time variation in blow flies and functional genetics of the development of wild type strain. The project has begun to expand knowledge on the role of genetics in blow fly development, showing that there is ample wild genetic variation that could potentially impact forensic PMI estimates. The project's habitability estimates provide an empirical estimate of the impact of genetic variation on development-time variation. The report notes that the analyses are preliminary and advises that subsequent publications with the data presented in this report may differ from future publications based on the collection of additional data, changes in parameter settings, differences in statistical tests performed, or choices in algorithms applied to the data. Scholarly products of this research are listed. 13 tables, 12 figures, and 18 references

Date Published: July 1, 2016