Population genetic structure of an invasive forensically important insect

Electrophoresis. 2014 Nov;35(21-22):3193-200. doi: 10.1002/elps.201400108. Epub 2014 Aug 4.


The forensic utility of an insect can depend in part on its population structure. Although some native North American species have been characterized in this fashion, information is lacking for species that were introduced from elsewhere and that might have lower genetic diversity and less geographic differentiation. We surveyed Chrysomya megacephala, an Asian fly present in the continental USA since the 1980s. Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism profiles were generated from adult insects collected across Florida and in Mobile, Alabama. Analysis of Molecular Variance on 151 polymorphic loci found significant but very small variation among samples. STRUCTURE and principal coordinate analyses produced the same two clusters in the population, consistent with C. megacephala in Florida having originated from two separate source populations. A weak negative correlation between genetic and geographic distances probably reflected the geographic arrangement of the genetic clusters. A positive relative relatedness coefficient for each sample indicated that flies arriving at a bait within a short time were likely to be close relatives, consistent with the earlier results for native North American carrion flies. However, genetic diversity estimated for the introduced Florida C. megacephala was lower than for native species or for published data on Malaysian C. megacephala, perhaps reflecting the genetic effects of being introduced to a new geographic region. Genetic assignment, a method that has been proposed as a way to infer corpse postmortem relocation, was much less successful for C. megacephala compared to the native species, possibly reflecting a history of admixture.

Keywords: Chrysomya megacephala; Death investigation; Forensic entomology; Genetics.

MeSH terms

  • Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism Analysis
  • Animals
  • DNA / analysis*
  • DNA / chemistry
  • Diptera / classification
  • Diptera / genetics*
  • Entomology*
  • Florida
  • Forensic Genetics*
  • Genetic Variation / genetics
  • Genotyping Techniques


  • DNA