The authors investigated microRNAs as putative markers of immature development in the forensically relevant blow fly, Cochliomyia macellaria.
Immature blow fly development information is critical for temporal estimations in death investigations. While there are phenotypic markers of development, they often do not provide adequate precision and resolution. The authors investigated microRNAs as putative markers of immature development in the forensically relevant blow fly, Cochliomyia macellaria. Using RNA sequencing, the authors were able to identify miRNAs present in immature developmental stages, as well as identify miRNA which were significantly differentially expressed. Through these analyses, they found likely markers of development time, some of which were validated with qPCR methods. As a follow-up, they investigated factors which may influence expression of miRNA throughout development, such as selected genotypic variation and sex. It was very clear that genetic and abiotic factors can impact predictions of age, some of which may exhibit interactions. It is important that future work investigate the markers most robust to genetic effects on development. (Publisher abstract provided)
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