RAPID ASSAY TO IDENTIFY THE TWO GENETIC FORMS OF CULEX (CULEX) PIPIENS L. (DIPTERA: CULICIDAE) AND HYBRID POPULATIONS

CAROLYN M. BAHNCK Genetics Program, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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DINA M. FONSECA Genetics Program, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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A previously developed method to identify members of the Culex pipiens complex exploiting polymorphisms in a nuclear intron (acetylcholinesterase [ACE] based-assay) cannot differentiate the two forms of Cx. pipiens: form pipiens and form molestus. Notably, the two forms seem to differ extensively in behavior and physiology and likely have very different epidemiologic importance. Because they are morphologically indistinguishable, molecular methods are critical for the evaluation of their relative importance. Although the two forms of Cx. pipiens have been distinguished using a panel of microsatellite loci, such a protocol is laborious and expensive. We developed a rapid assay based on polymorphisms in the flanking region of a microsatellite locus. Used in conjunction with the ACE-assay, this new assay allows the identification of pure and hybrid populations of the two Cx. pipiens forms as well as those including Cx. quinquefasciatus. We discuss the usefulness of the method as well as limitations to its application.

Author Notes

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