A molecular diagnostic method is presented for differentiating Reticulitermes Holgren species which are economically important urban pests. A 379 bp region of the mtDNA COII gene was amplified using PCR and sequenced from R. flavipes (Kollar), R. virginicus (Banks), R. hageni Banks, R. hesperus (Banks), R. tibialis (Banks), and a new Reticulitermes species from California. Based on the DNA sequence data, polymerase chain reaction ? restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) analysis involving two restriction enzymes, Hinf I, and Taq I, were diagnostic for all of the Reticulitermes species analyzed. This PCR-RFLP technique allows the use of field collected specimens preserved in alcohol, and can identify specimens regardless of caste. We applied the method to identify unknown Reticultermes populations to species from Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. Polymerase chain reaction-RFLP, resolved with polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE), provided an efficient method for identification of North American Reticulitermes species for diagnostic purposes.
Species 1: Isoptera Reticulitermatidae Reticulitermes (subterranean termite)
Keywords: molecular diagnostics, termite
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