Amplified mitochondrial DNA as a diagnostic marker for species of conifer-feeding Choristoneura (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)

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  • Abstract: We describe a method for identifying conifer-feeding species and lineages of Choristoneura Lederer in Canada and Alaska. The method relies on amplification of mitochondrial (mt) DNA by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR); amplified DNA is then digested with restriction enzymes to give characteristic DNA fragment patterns. We used the cytochrome oxidase I and II genes of mtDNA, which were previously shown to contain numerous nucleotide differences at the level of species. Ten restriction enzymes were surveyed and a combination of two of these (EcoR V + Hinf I) was sufficient to distinguish the major mtDNA lineages. Choris?oneura fumiferana (Clemens), C. pinus Freeman, and C. rosaceana (Harris) were readily distinguished from each other and from an assemblage of three putative western species (C. occidentalis Freeman, C. orae Freeman, and C. biennis Freeman). The three western species have the same mtDNA marker pattern in most individuals and, although ecologically differentiated, their populations may actually be conspecific. At one locality in Alaska, pheromone traps baited with lures for C. fumiferana attract moths with C. fumiferana, mtDNA, and lures for C. orae attract moths with mtDNA that is characteristic of the western assemblage. This demonstrates geographic overlap of genetically distinct species in Alaska. The same two separate mtDNA lineages co-occur at two localities in Alberta, but pheromone attraction is unknown. In British Columbia, populations identified as C. biennis and C. occidentalis contain a few individuals with divergent mtDNA genotypes, the significance of which remains unclear. Amplified mtDNA thus provides a convenient, reliable marker for surveying genetic variation within species and for studying interactions among species of the C. fumiferana group.

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    Article (Published)
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    © 1995 Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Entomological Society of Canada. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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    • Sperling, F.A.H & Hickey, D.A. (1995). Amplified mitochondrial DNA as a diagnostic marker for species of conifer-feeding Choristoneura (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Canadian Entomologist, 127(3), 277-288.