a1 Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research, Department of Genetics, Bio-21, Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, The University of Melbourne, Parkville-3010, Australia
a2 Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, Chatham Maritime, Kent, ME4 4TB, UK
The four significant pest species in the Helicoverpa genus (H. armigera, H. assulta, H. punctigera and H. zea) are morphologically similar and can only be reliably distinguished through dissection of adult genitalia. Two partial regions of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), the cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) and the cytochrome b (Cyt b) genes were amplified by PCR and digested with restriction endonucleases. The restriction patterns, generated by the endonucleases BstZ17I and HphI, demonstrated reliable differentiation of the four Helicoverpa pest species. This technique is fast, reliable and effective at distinguishing specimens irrespective of their life stages and offers support to conventional taxonomic differentiation based on morphological characters.
(Accepted January 27 2008)
(Online publication July 17 2008)
p1 Current address: CSIRO Entomology, Black Mountain Laboratories, Clunies Ross Street, Black Mountain, ACT 2601, Australia.