Entomology, Department of


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Published in Medical and Veterinary Entomology (1996) 10, 161—169.


Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCRRFLP) analysis was used to characterize mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in screwworms, Cochliomyia hominivorax, and secondary screwworm, C. macellaria, from the Caribbean, North America and South America. Four amplicons, totaling 7.1 kb, were analysed with sixteen restriction enzymes. A total of 133 restriction sites was observed in the two species, 104 in C. hominivorax, of which nineteen were variable, and ninety-five in C. macellaria, none of which was variable. Fourteen mtDNA haplotypes were observed among eighteen C. hominivorax examined. Mean divergence between C. hominivorax haplotypes (d) was 0.0064 substitutions per base-pair and genotypic diversity (G) was 0 .97. Mean divergence between C. hominivorax and C. macellaria was 0.0824. Cochliomyia hominivorax haplotypes could be divided into three assemblages representing North America, South America, and Jamaica, based on UPGMA clustering with d values. The assemblages did not exhibit complete geographic fidelity. These data were discordant with previously published allozyme data indicating little differentiation between screwworm populations. A scenario invoking historically isolated populations coming into contact with the introduction and movement of European livestock is proposed to explain the observed population structure of screwworm.

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