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A DNA Barcoding Based Study to Identify Main Mosquito Species in Taiwan and its Difference from Those in Mainland China

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Aim and Objective: Mosquitoes can transmit many types of viruses such as West Nile virus and Zika virus and are responsible for a number of virus-causing diseases including malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, lymphatic filariasis, and Japanese B encephalitis. On January 19, 2016, the first case of Zika virus infection was identified in Taiwan, which presents the need for studying the mosquito species in the Taiwan Strait and evaluating the risk of the outbreak of this infection.

Materials and Method: In this study, we have collected 144 mosquito specimens from 42 species belonging to nine genera from both sides of the Taiwan Strait during 2013 and 2014. We then applied the COI DNA Barcoding technique to classify the specimens and performed a phylogenetic analysis to infer the evolutionary history of these mosquitoes. Based on the analyses, we found that though the mosquitoes from different sides of the Taiwan Strait share a lot of commonality, they have a few regional specificities.

Results: Our results also suggested a very small divergences (1%~9%) between specimens from the same mosquito species and relatively large divergences (8%~25%) between specimens from different mosquito species. Within the same species, the divergence of specimens from the same region is significantly smaller than that between two regions. A few highly divergent species between Fujian and Taiwan (e.g., An.maculatus and Ae.elsiae) might be formed due to the so-called “cryptic evolutionary events”, in which the species has differentiation into cryptic species due to geographical differences without changing morphological characteristics.

Conclusion: In conclusion, the phylogenetic analyses showed a very similar taxonomy to the historical one based on morphological characteristics, validating again the application of COI DNA Barcoding technique in classifying mosquito species. However, there are also some inconsistencies between COI DNA Barcoding and historical taxonomy, which points out the differences between mosquito DNA and morphological characteristics and suggests the possibility to improve mosquito taxonomy based on DNA techniques.
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Keywords: DNA barcoding; DNA sequencing; Mosquito species; phylogenetic tree

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2017

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  • Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening publishes full length original research articles and reviews describing various topics in combinatorial chemistry (e.g. small molecules, peptide, nucleic acid or phage display libraries) and/or high throughput screening (e.g. developmental, practical or theoretical). Ancillary subjects of key importance, such as robotics and informatics, will also be covered by the journal. In these respective subject areas, Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening is intended to function as the most comprehensive and up-to-date medium available. The journal should be of value to individuals engaged in the process of drug discoveryand development, in the settings of industry, academia or government.
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