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First study about morphological and molecular identification of Pseudococcus elisae (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) in Costa rica

Author: 
Melissa Palma-Jiménez and Mónica Blanco-Meneses
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

The State Phytosanitary Service of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (SFE, for its acronym in Spanish) declared national emergency in 2014 because of rising populations of mealybug Pseudococcus elisae (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) in banana plantations. Currently, there is a great concern due to the economic losses caused to farmers. To understand about the morphological and molecular relationship of these individuals, the present work was carried out with the aim of describing insects collected from 10 farms from the Atlantic region of Costa Rica and analyze three specific genes of mealybugs. The microscopy analysis was done in the Center for Research on Microscopic structures in 2012 and the molecular analysis was performed in the Molecular Phytophatology Laboratory ending in 2014, both at the University of Costa Rica. Morphological and molecular variations among mealybugs were identified; also discrepancies were noticed when comparing the results of the species among the three genes obtained from the study (18S ribosomal, E.F-1α and COXI), providing sequences that identified one of the species present in Costa Rica as Pseudococcus elisae, which was not previously described in the gene bank (NCBI). Resumen: El Servicio Fitosanitario del Estado del Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería (SFE) declaró emergencia fitosanitaria nacional para el año 2014 a causa del aumento de poblaciones de la cochinilla harinosa Pseudococcus elisae (Hemipters: Pseudococcidae) en el cultivo de banano. Actualmente existe una gran preocupación por las pérdidas económicas generadas a los productores. Para entender a cerca de la relación morfológica y molecular de estos individuos el presente trabajo se realizó con el objetivo de describir a los insectos colectados en 10 fincas de la región Atlántica de Costa Rica y se analizaron tres genes específicos de la cochinilla harinosa. La descripción morfológica se realizó en el CIEMic de la UCR en el año 2012 y el análisis molecular en el Laboratorio de Técnicas Moleculares aplicadas a la Fitoprotección del CIPROC para finalizar en el año 2014. Se identificó variación morfológica y molecular entre las cochinillas harinosas, también se observó discrepancias al comparar los resultados de las especies obtenidas entre los tres genes del estudio (18S ribosomal, F.E-1α y COXI), aportando además secuencias que identifican a una de las especies presente en Costa Rica como Pseudococcus elisae, la cual anteriormente no estaba descrita en el banco de genes (NCBI).

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