n African Entomology - Molecular identification of tephritid fruit flies (Diptera : Tephritidae) infesting sweet oranges in Nsukka Agro-Ecological Zone, Nigeria, based on PCR-RFLP of COI gene and DNA barcoding

Volume 23, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1021-3589



The exotic tephritid (syn. ) and the native species constitute serious pests and major impediment to production in Nigeria. Lack of accurate and reliable diagnostic methods independent of the life stages intercepted for both genera hampers implementation of appropriate early management programmes to avoid economic losses and delays in quarantine decision regarding these pests. We used a PCR amplification technique to successfully establish RFLP patterns of the COI coding gene to differentiate the exotic from the native species infesting sweet oranges in Nigeria. The universal bar-coding primer pair LCO1490/HCO2198 was used to amplify 658 bp-long fragment of the mitochondrial COI coding gene. The amplified fragment was analysed by automated direct sequencing and RFLP. Intraspecific variation in nucleotide sequences of was very low with not more than 2 bp substitutions in four out of 31 individuals sequenced. Among the species intra specific variation was also very low with at most 4 bp substitutions in few of the 32 individuals sequenced. The restriction enzymes I and II produced patterns that clearly and unambiguously separated from spp. DNA bar-coding was also used to confirm the identities of the tephritid species analysed. The molecular method established in this study will enhance easy monitoring, early detection of species involved, and implementation of appropriate management programmes that effectively reduce yield loses in Citrus production in Nigeria.

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