To date, no polymerase chain reaction diagnostic technique exists to directly identify mammalian blood meals from mosquitoes by sized DNA fragments following agarose gel electrophoresis. We have developed a vertebrate-specific multiplexed primer set based on mitochondrial cytochrome b to identify the mammalian blood hosts of field-collected mosquitoes. Although designed for the study of African malaria vectors, the application of this tool is not restricted to this disease system. Validation of this diagnostic technique on dried anopheline and culicine field specimens collected in Zambia and Mali demonstrated that blood meals could be identified 2-7 months after collection. Time course experiments showed that host DNA was detectable in frozen mosquito abdomens 24-30 hours post-feeding. Additionally, multiple blood meals from different mammals could be detected in a single mosquito. This diagnostic assay will be a valuable tool for identifying the blood meals of field-collected mosquitoes where people and alternative mammal hosts are present.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases