Volume 76, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The African malaria vector is polymorphic for alternative arrangements on the left arm of chromosome 2 (2La and 2L+) that are non-randomly distributed with respect to degree of aridity. Detailed studies on the ecological role of inversion 2La have been hindered by the technical demands of traditional karyotype analysis and by sex- and stage-specific limitations on the availability of polytene chromosomes favorable for analysis. Recent molecular characterization of both inversion breakpoints presented the opportunity to develop a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method for karyotype analysis. Here we report the development of this molecular diagnostic assay and the results of extensive field validation. When tested on 765 specimens sampled across Africa, the molecular approach compared favorably with traditional cytologic methods, correctly scoring > 94% of these specimens. By providing ready access to the 2La karyotype, this tool lays groundwork for future studies of the ecological genomics of this medically important species.


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  • Received : 02 Aug 2006
  • Accepted : 07 Nov 2006

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