Differentiation of Bactrocera papayae Drew & Hancock and Bactrocera carambolae Drew & Hancock (Diptera: Tephritidae) based on morphological characters has often been problematical. We describe here a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay to differentiate between these two species. For detection of SNPs, fragments derived from each species were amplified using two primer pairs, COIF/COIR and UEA7/UEA10, sequenced, and aligned to obtain a contiguous 1,517-bp segment. Two new sets of primers were designed based on the 11 SNPs identified in the region. Results of the SNP-PCR test using any one of these species-specific primer sets indicate that these two species could be differentiated on basis of presence or absence of a band in the gel profile. We also tested the SNP-PCR primers on Bactrocera umbrosa F., Bactrocera cucurbitae Coquillett, Bactrocera latifrons Hendel, and Bactrocera tau (Walker) but did not detect any band in the gel, indicating the likelihood of a false positive for B. papayae is nil. This SNP-PCR method is efficient and useful, especially for immature life stages or when only adult body parts of the two species are available for identification, as encountered often in quarantine work.
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Vol. 103 • No. 6