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Blow Fly Sequence

An Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis team of researchers has sequenced the black blow fly, an insect with environmental, medical, and forensic implications, according to the university.

IUPUI's Christine Picard and her colleagues reported recently in BMC Genomics that they assembled both male and female draft black blow fly genomes using a combination of short and long reads generated by Illumina and Pacific Biosciences platforms, respectively. The male and female black blow fly genomes were predicted to have a respective 9,490 and 8,312 genes, and the researchers highlighted genes that appeared to be involved in detecting odorants and other chemicals.

Black blow flies are found throughout North America and Europe and are important in nutrient recycling as they eat decaying flesh. As black blow flies are usually the first insects to colonize human remains, forensic investigators often use them to estimate time of death.

"Now that we have described the genome," says Picard in a statement. "I plan to continue working toward a better understanding of black blow fly population variation from location to location, and show how the variations influence postmortem interval estimates, with the goal of making these important determinations more accurate."