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High Throughput Multiplex Assay for Species Identification of Papua New Guinea Malaria Vectors: Members of the Anopheles punctulatus (Diptera: Culicidae) Species Group

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  • Center for Global Health and Diseases, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio; Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Madang, Papua New Guinea; Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Goroka, Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea; School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Malaria and filariasis are transmitted in the Southwest Pacific region by Anopheles punctulatus sibling species including An. punctulatus, An. koliensis, the An. farauti complex 1–8 (includes An. hinesorum [An. farauti 2], An. torresiensis [An. farauti 3]). Distinguishing these species from each other requires molecular diagnostic methods. We developed a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR)–based assay specific for known species-specific nucleotide differences in the internal transcribed spacer 2 region and identified the five species most frequently implicated in transmitting disease (An. punctulatus, An. koliensis, An. farauti 1, An. hinesorum, and An. farauti 4). A set of 340 individual mosquitoes obtained from seven Papua New Guinea provinces representing a variety of habitats were analyzed by using this multiplex assay. Concordance between molecular and morphological diagnosis was 56.4% for An. punctulatus, 85.3% for An. koliensis, and 88.9% for An. farauti. Among 158 mosquitoes morphologically designated as An. farauti, 33 were re-classified by PCR as An. punctulatus, 4 as An. koliensis, 26 as An. farauti 1, 49 as An. hinesorum, and 46 as An. farauti 4. Misclassification results from variable coloration of the proboscis and overlap of An. punctulatus, An. koliensis, the An. farauti 4. This multiplex technology enables further mosquito strain identification and simultaneous detection of microbial pathogens.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Peter A. Zimmerman, Center for Global Health and Diseases, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Wolstein Research Building, #4-125, 2103 Cornell Road, Cleveland, OH 44106. E-mail: paz@case.edu†Deceased.

Financial support: This study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (AI065717) and the Fogarty International Center (TW007872, TW007377, and TW007735). Mosquito collection was also supported by the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria Round 3 malaria grant to Papua New Guinea.

Authors' addresses: Cara Henry-Halldin, Allison M. Zimmerman, and Peter A. Zimmerman, Center for Global Health and Diseases, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Wolstein Research Building, Cleveland, OH, E-mails: cnh@case.edu, amz23@case.edu, paz@case.edu. Lisa Reimer, Edward Thomsen, Gussy Koimbu, John B. Keven, and Henry Dagoro (deceased), Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research-Madang, Madang, Papua New Guinea, E-mails: lisa.reimer@case.edu, edward.thomsen@case.edu, gkoimbu@gmail.com, jo.bosco@live.com. Manuel W. Hetzel, Ivo Mueller, and Peter Siba, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research-Goroka, Goroka, Papua New Guinea, E-mails: manuel.hetzel@pngimr.org.pg, ivomueller@fastmail.fm, pmaxsiba@gmail.com

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