Identification of mosquito bloodmeals using mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I and cytochrome b gene sequences

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Primer pairs were designed and protocols developed to selectively amplify segments of vertebrate mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI) and cytochrome b (Cyt b) mtDNA from the bloodmeals of mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae). The protocols use two pairs of nested COI primers and one pair of Cyt b primers to amplify short segments of DNA. Resultant sequences are then compared with sequences in GenBank, using the BLAST function, for putative host identification. Vertebrate DNA was amplified from 88% of our sample of 162 wild-caught, blood-fed mosquitoes from Oregon, U.S.A. and GenBank BLAST searches putatively identified 98% of the amplified sequences, including one amphibian, seven mammalian and 14 avian species. Criteria and caveats for putative identification of bloodmeals are discussed.

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