Synthetic DNA probes for the identification of sibling species in the Anopheles gambiae complex

Suzannah M. Hill*, Rachel Urwin, Teresa F. Knapp, Julian M. Crampton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The cloned DNA sequences pAnal, pAnql and pAnml4, which may be used to distinguish between at least five of the six species in the Anopheles gambiae Giles complex of Afrotropical malaria vector mosquitoes, have been sequenced. Each clone was found to possess a series of repeated sequences of 41, 30 and 163 bases respectively. In pAnql and pAnml4 the repeats were in direct tandem array, whilst in pAnal the repetitive sequence was found to be interspersed by 15–17 variable bases. A comparison of a number of copies of each of the repetitive sequences within the three clones enabled the definition of the consensus sequence for each repetitive element. Based on these consensus sequences, three oligonucleotides of 21, 23 and 26 bases were derived from pAnal, pAnql and pAnml4 respectively. When tested as probes against DNA dot-blots and squash-blots of mosquito specimens, each oligonucleotide retained the same species-specificity as the original clones from which they were derived. The radioactively labelled oligonucleotides were able to detect as little as 5 ng of target genomic DNA in an overnight autoradiographic exposure. The synthetic DNA probes will form the basis of a simplified system for the field identification of Anopheles gambiae sibling species specimens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-463
Number of pages9
JournalMedical and Veterinary Entomology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Anopheles gambiae complex
  • species identification
  • oligo-nucleotide probes
  • consensus sequence
  • dot-blots
  • squash-blots


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