Antheraea mylitta (Drury) is a tropical tasar-silk producing insect. Its populations occupying different ecological and geographical regions show a certain degree of phenotypic variability, for which they are known as “eco-races.” The eco-races are exploited for tasar silk production, and they are classified on the basis of their geographical distribution and morphology, which is often misleading when their systematic position is considered. To understand the genetic variability among the different eco-races, we used the random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) method. Eighty random decamer primers were taken for RAPD amplifications. In total, 415 reproducible bands were used to generate a distance matrix, and for the subsequent clustering with unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic average. The number of polymorphic bands detected by each primer ranged from 5 to 24, with a mean value of 14.1 per primer. Percentage polymorphism was 81.9, and genetic distance values ranged from a minimum of 0.0108 between Modal and Nalia eco-races to a maximum of 0.0244 between Modal and Andhra local. The RAPD profiles obtained using A14, BC07, and C17 primers substantially differentiate all 10 commercially important eco-races, and the phylogenetic tree obtained from the data closely follows their geographical separations.
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Vol. 101 • No. 4