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Molecular phylogeny of isolates of Ctenocephalides felis and related species based on analysis of ITS1, ITS2 and mitochondrial 16S rDNA sequences and random binding primers

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The phylogenetic relationships among 31 different flea isolates representing seven different species were studied by nucleotide sequence comparison of the internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1), internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) and/or mitochondrial 16S ribosomal RNA gene (mt16S-rDNA) to examine the patterns of variation. Results show that all regions are useful in discriminating among flea species. In Ctenocephalides felis and Tunga penetrans, some differences in these gene regions occurred among different isolates within the same species. In the latter case, the differences are in the mt16S-rDNA region, with one isolate showing 48% divergence in nucleotide sequence. The taxonomic implications of this result are unclear at present. The gene regions revealed differences between C. felis isolates only after DNA sequencing the PCR products. Further differentiation among C. felis isolates was obtained using four different random binding primers (decamers) and primers for mammalian aldolase to amplify narrow differences in the genome. Using these primers we were able to discriminate between different C. felis isolates and determine that some of the genetic variation coincided with minor differences in response to the control agent imidacloprid. However, overall findings do not support the existence of subspecies of C. felis.

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Correspondence to H. Mehlhorn.

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Vobis, M., D’Haese, J., Mehlhorn, H. et al. Molecular phylogeny of isolates of Ctenocephalides felis and related species based on analysis of ITS1, ITS2 and mitochondrial 16S rDNA sequences and random binding primers. Parasitol Res 94, 219–226 (2004).

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