Random Amplification of Polymorphic DNA as a tool for taxonomic studies of Triatomine bugs (Hemiptera: Reduviidae)

García AL, Carrasco HJ, Schofield CJ, Valente SA, Frame IA, Stothard R, Miles MA

    Eleven of 27 decameric primers were found to be suitable for random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) from triatomine bugs on the basis that they produced discrete profiles and distinguished among Panstrongylus megistus (Burmeister), Rhodnius prolixus Stal, and Triatoma infestans (Klug). The legs, or single leg segments, of individual bugs were used as the source of DNA so that the taxonomic value of the bug was conserved. Within the scope of the specimens studied, RAPD profiles allowed assignment to species even when bugs were kept dry for up to 12 mo. Profiles for individuals within a species were not identical. RAPD profiles, with the specimens tested, distinguished among species of 3 pairs considered to be morphologically similar and closely related, namely Rhodnius ecuadoriensis Lent & León and Rhodnius pictipes Larrouse. RAPD data conformed with the perceived affinities among these species. RAPD polymorphisms were seen with T. infestans from 3 different localities, but none of the polymorphisms was confined to 1 source. RAPD provided a molecular basis to reassess taxonomic relationships within the Triatominae subfamiliy. The accurate distinction of triatomine species and of intraspecific bug populations may contribute to elimination of vector-borne Chagas disease from the Americas.