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DNA barcoding and molecular identification of field-collected Culicoides larvae in the Niayes area of Senegal

Bakhoum M.T., Sarr M., Fall A.G., Huber K., Fall M., Sembène M., Seck M.T., Labuschagne K., Gardes L., Ciss M., Gimonneau G., Bouyer J., Baldet T., Garros C.. 2018. Parasites and Vectors, 11 : 10 p..

DOI: 10.1186/s13071-018-3176-y

Background: Biting midge species of the genus Culicoides Latreille (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) comprise more than 1300 species distributed worldwide. Several species of Culicoides are vectors of various viruses that can affect animals, like the African horse sickness virus (AHSV), known to be endemic in sub-Saharan Africa. The ecological and veterinary interest of Culicoides emphasizes the need for rapid and reliable identification of vector species. However, morphology-based identification has limitations and warrants integration of molecular data. DNA barcoding based on the mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) is used as a rapid and authentic tool for species identification in a wide variety of animal taxa across the globe. In this study, our objectives were as follows: (i) establish a reference DNA barcode for Afrotropical Culicoides species; (ii) assess the accuracy of cox1 in identifying Afrotropical Culicoides species; and (iii) test the applicability of DNA barcoding for species identification on a large number of samples of Culicoides larvae from the Niayes area of Senegal, West Africa. Results: A database of 230 cox1 sequences belonging to 42 Afrotropical Culicoides species was found to be reliable for species-level assignments, which enabled us to identify cox1 sequences of Culicoides larvae from the Niayes area of Senegal. Of the 933 cox1 sequences of Culicoides larvae analyzed, 906 were correctly identified by their barcode sequences corresponding to eight species of Culicoides. A total of 1131 cox1 sequences of adult and larval Culicoides were analyzed, and a hierarchical increase in mean divergence was observed according to two taxonomic levels: within species (mean = 1.92%, SE = 0.00), and within genus (mean = 17.82%, SE = 0.00). Conclusions: Our study proves the efficiency of DNA barcoding for studying Culicoides larval diversity in field samples. Such a diagnostic tool offers great opportunities for investigating Culicoides immature stages ecology and biology, a prerequisite for the implementation of eco-epidemiological studies to better control AHSV in the Niayes region of Senegal, and more generally in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mots-clés : sénégal

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