Volume 43, Issue 5 (September 1998)
Isolation, Amplification, and Sequencing of Human Mitochondrial DNA Obtained from Human Crab Louse, Pthirus Pubis (L.), Blood Meals
The ability to identify individual human hosts based on analyses of blood recovered from the digestive tract of hematophagous arthropods has been a long-term pursuit in both medical and forensic entomology. Blood meal individualization techniques can bring important advancements to studies of vector-borne disease epidemiology. Forensically, these analyses may aid in assailant identification in violent crime cases where blood-feeding insects or their excreta are recovered from victims or at crime scenes. Successful isolation, amplification, and sequencing of human mitochondrial DNA obtained from adult human crab lice fed on human volunteers are reported. Adult lice were removed from recruited volunteers frequenting inner city health clinics. Live lice were killed by freezing and subsequently air dried at ambient temperature. A saliva sample was obtained from each volunteer and served as a DNA reference sample. Volunteers were afforded free, approved pediculosis treatment. Individual lice were subsequently processed using procedures developed for the extraction of mitochondrial DNA from human hair, teeth, and bone. The resulting DNA was amplified by the polymerase chain reaction and sequenced. Our results point to valuable avenues for future entomological research.