The design and application of rational strategies that rely on accurate species identification are pivotal for effective vector control. When morphological identification of the target vector species is impractical, the use of molecular markers is required. Here we describe a non-coding, single-copy nuclear DNA fragment that contains a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) with the potential to distinguish the important domestic Chagas disease vector, Rhodnius prolixus, from members of the four sylvatic Rhodnius robustus cryptic species complex. A total of 96 primer pairs obtained from whole genome shotgun sequencing of the R. prolixus genome (12,626 random reads) were tested on 43 R. prolixus and R. robustus s.l. samples. One of the seven amplicons selected (AmpG) presented a SNP, potentially diagnostic for R. prolixus, on the 280th site. The diagnostic nature of this SNP was then confirmed based on the analysis of 154 R. prolixus and R. robustus s.l. samples representing the widest possible geographic coverage. The results of a 60% majority-rule Bayesian consensus tree and a median-joining network constructed based on the genetic variability observed reveal the paraphyletic nature of the R. robustus species complex, with respect to R. prolixus. The AmpG region is located in the fourth intron of the Transmembrane protein 165 gene, which seems to be in the R. prolixus X chromosome. Other possible chromosomal locations of the AmpG region in the R. prolixus genome are also presented and discussed.
- Cryptic species
- Nuclear DNA