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DNA Probes Can Be Used To Discriminate between Tephritid Species at all Stages of the Life Cycle (Diptera: Tephritidae)

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We isolated DNA sequences from the genomes of three Tephritid species. These can be used as probes to make rapid and reliable species identifications using material from any stage of the life cycle. The three Tephritid species are the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Weidemann); the oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel), and the melon fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett). These isolated DNA sequences can be used to probe specimen material such as single eggs, larvae, or adult body parts on dot blots or squash blots to determine rapidly which species are present when infestations are found. The actual species identifications are made either on the basis of a direct positive result with a particular probe or by the process of elimination from multiple probings. The availability of species-specific DNA probes for use on minimal amounts of material from any stage of the life cycle or body part can facilitate greatly the identification of specimens which are otherwise indistinguishable or unsuitable for classification on the basis of morphological criteria. This technique also allows material to be analyzed immediately, which obviates the need for rearing and handling of material collected at immature stages. Although these probes have been developed for the three Tephritid species described here, the methods used are applicable to any group of organisms.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 1994

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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