Title page for ETD etd-06202011-121117

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Debeila, Thipe Jan
Email DebeilaT@arc.agric.za
URN etd-06202011-121117
Document Title Characterisation of selected Culicoides (Diptera : Ceratopogonidae) populations in South Africa using genetic markers
Degree MSc
Department Veterinary Tropical Diseases
Advisor Name Title
Dr J J O Koekemoer Supervisor
  • bluetongue
  • Culicoides
  • mitochondrial DNA
  • sequences
  • cytochrome oxidase subunit I COI
  • 16S rRNA
  • C imicola
  • C Bolitinos
  • South Africa
  • African horse sickness
Date 2011-04-08
Availability unrestricted

Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) are small (<3mm) blood feeding flies. These flies are biological vectors of viruses, protozoa and filarial nematodes affecting birds, humans, and other animals. Among the viruses transmitted those causing bluetongue (BT), African horse sickness (AHS) and epizootic haemorrhagic disease (EHD) are of major veterinary significance. Culicoides (Avaritia) imicola Kieffer, a proven vector of both AHS and BT viruses, is the most abundant and wide spread livestock-associated Culicoides species in South Africa. Field isolations of virus and oral susceptibility studies, however, indicated that a second Avaritia species, C. bolitinos Meiswinkel may be a potential vector of both BT virus (BTV) and AHS virus (AHSV). Differences in oral susceptibility, which are under genetic control, of populations from different geographical areas to viruses may be an indication of genetic differences between these populations, which may be the result of limited contact between these populations. A good knowledge of the distribution, spread and genetic structure of the insect vector is essential in understanding AHS or BT disease epidemiology.

In the present study, an effort was made to gather field specimens of both C. imicola and C. bolitinos from different areas within their natural distribution in South Africa. The aim was to partially sequence two mitochondrial genes from these specimens and to analyse the sequence data making use of phylogenetic trees to clarify the genetic relationships between individuals or groups collected from geographically distinct sites. The two species were collected from four geographically separated areas in South Africa viz. Gauteng Province, Eastern Cape Province, Western Cape Province as well as the Free State Province. DNA was extracted from a total of 120 individual midges of the two Culicoides species using DNA extraction kits. Extracted DNA was analysed using PCR, sequencing as well as phylogenetic methods.

A total of 117 mitochondrial DNA COI and 104 mitochondrial 16S ribosomal RNA CulidoidesC. imicola and C. bolitinos midges were determined. The results of the phylogenetic analysis of Culicoides populations using mitochondrial COI gene fragment showed that, at least one subpopulation of C. imicola and two distinct genotypes of C. bolitinos species do exist in South Africa, and further analysis is necessary. This study showed that COI has the potential to separate Culicoides midges based on their geography

2010, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Debeila, TJ 2010, Characterisation of selected Culicoides (Diptera : Ceratopogonidae) populations in South Africa using genetic markers dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-06202011-121117/ >


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