Exon-primed intron-crossing (EPIC) PCR markers of Helicoverpa armigera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

W. T. Tay, G. T. Behere, D. G. Heckel, S. F. Lee, P. Batterham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Applying microsatellite DNA markers in population genetic studies of the pest moth Helicoverpa armigera is subject to numerous technical problems, such as the high frequency of null alleles, occurrence of size homoplasy, presence of multiple copies of flanking sequence in the genome and the lack of PCR amplification robustness between populations. To overcome these difficulties, we developed exon-primed intron-crossing (EPIC) nuclear DNA markers for H. armigera based on ribosomal protein (Rp) and the Dopa Decarboxylase (DDC) genes and sequenced alleles showing length polymorphisms. Allele length polymorphisms were usually from random indels (insertions or deletions) within introns, although variation of short dinucleotide DNA repeat units was also detected. Mapping crosses demonstrated Mendelian inheritance patterns for these EPIC markers and the absence of both null alleles and allele 'dropouts'. Three examples of allele size homoplasies due to indels were detected in EPIC markers RpL3, RpS6 and DDC, while sequencing of multiple individuals across 11 randomly selected alleles did not detect indel size homoplasies. The robustness of the EPIC-PCR markers was demonstrated by PCR amplification in the related species, H. zea, H. assulta and H. punctigera.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-518
Number of pages10
JournalBulletin of Entomological Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cross-species amplification
  • Dopa decarboxylase
  • EPIC PCR markers
  • Helicoverpa
  • Lepidoptera
  • Ribosomal protein genes


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