Faster, More Objective Maggot Analysis
Maggot analysis presents unique challenges – but a combination of molecular science and artificial intelligence is helping forensic researchers ID similar species
Michael Schubert | | Quick Read
Although academically interesting to some, it’s difficult to see the relevance of maggots to the average analytical scientist. For those who work in forensics, though, the link is clear – maggots on a cadaver can help investigators determine when and where death occurred. In some cases, such as neglect, they can even help establish a person’s physical condition prior to death.
The drawback? Maggot analysis is time-consuming, resource-intensive, and requires the input of expert entomologists who can distinguish between different species. In many cases, this requires raising living maggots to their mature fly form to make species distinction easier. But not all cadavers yield live maggots – and, even in those that do, identification can be subjective and different species may resemble one another too closely for reliable classification.
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