Symposium: New Technologies for the Taxonomic Identification of Arthropods: Ribosomal DNA Probes for Identification of Member Species of the Anopheles Gambiae Complex

  • Victoria Finnerty
  • Frank H. Collins


Many insects belong to species complexes wherein member species are morphologically indistinguishable. Yet, in numerous cases, both economic and medical exigencies require that the species of such individuals be reliably determined. The specific problem addressed here concerns the Anopheles gambiae mosquito complex which includes An. gambiae and An. arabiensis, currently the two major African malaria vectors. The present work uses a ribosomal DNA gene probe to differentiate member species of this complex. The method is shown to be extremely useful and sensitive because it can easily test just portions of a single dried adult. The rationale for using ribosomal DNA clones to provide such diagnostic probes to distinguish among other morphologically identical insect species is also discussed.
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