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DNA barcoding for identifying synanthropic flesh flies (Diptera, Sarcophagidae) of Colombia

Buenaventura, Eliana, Valverde-Castro, César, Wolff, Marta, Triana-Chavez, Omar, Gómez-Palacio, Andrés
Acta tropica 2018 v.182 pp. 291-297
DNA barcoding, Sarcophagidae, barcoding, cytochrome-c oxidase, forensic sciences, genes, genetic distance, genetic variation, insects, mitochondria, monophyly, new species, organic matter, species identification, synanthropes, Colombia
The first step for a successful use of any insect as indicator in forensic sciences is providing a precise taxonomic identification at species level. Due to morphology-based identification of Sarcophaginae flies (Diptera, Sarcophagidae) is often difficult and requires strong taxonomic expertise, their use as forensic indicators has been limited. Consequently, molecular-based approaches have been accepted as alternative means of identification. Thus, we aimed testing the efficiency of the barcode region of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene for identification of synanthropic flesh flies of several species of the genera Peckia, Oxysarcodexia, Ravinia, and Tricharaea collected in Colombia. The 645-bp fragment of COI was amplified and aligned (215 parsimoniously informative variable sites). We calculated Kimura two-parameter genetic distances and reconstruct a Neighbor-Joining phylogenetic tree. Our Neighbor-Joining tree recovered all species as monophyletic, and confirmed a new species of the genus Ravinia as also indicated by the interspecific genetic divergences and morphological observations. We obtained a 100% of identification success. Thus, the COI barcodes showed efficiency as an alternative mean of identification of species of flesh flies collected on decaying organic matter in Colombia.