Phylogenetics and molecular identification of the Ochlerotatus communis and Oc. punctor complexes (Diptera: Culicidae)
Hosseinzadeh Namin, Hooman
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Accurate identification of pathogens and vectors is essential in epidemiological studies of mosquito-borne pathogens. However, the members of the communis and punctor complexes are difficult to distinguish because they are highly cryptic species, with little to no species-specific morphological characters. The objective of this thesis is to develop molecular tools, including RFLP and DNA barcoding using cytochrome oxidase I (COI), internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) and the intron of ribosomal protein S12 (RPS12) to facilitate identification of the members of these two complexes in Manitoba. A distinct interspecific distance for COI was found between the members of the communis complex included here, and diagnostic RFLP profiles were developed for Oc. communis and Oc. churchillensis. Relatively low average interspecific genetic distances using COI, ITS2 and RPS12 were observed between the members of the punctor complex, indicates no discernable boundaries between these species based on DNA barcoding.