Anopheles culicifacies, the principal vector of malaria in India, is a complex of five cryptic species which are morphologically indistinguishable at any stage of life. In view of the practical difficulties associated with classical cytotaxonomic method for the identification of members of the complex, an allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (ASPCR) assay targeted to the D3 domain of 28S ribosomal DNA was developed. The assay discriminatesAn. culicifacies species A and D from species B, C and E. The assay was validated using chromosomally-identified specimens ofAn. culicifacies from different geographical regions of India representing different sympatric associations. The assay correctly differentiates species A and D from species B, C and E. The possible use of this diagnostic assay in disease vector control programmes is discussed.
Volume 48, 2023
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