Volume 59, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The phlebotomine sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis is the insect vector of visceral leishmaniasis, a protozoan disease of increasing incidence and distribution in Central and South America. Electrophoretic allele frequencies of 15 enzyme loci were compared among the L. longipalpis populations selected across its distribution range in Brazil. The mean heterozygosity of two colonized geographic strains (one each from Colombia and Brazil) were 6% and 13% respectively, with 1.6-1.9 alleles detected per locus. In contrast, among the seven widely separated field populations, the mean heterozygosity ranged from 11% to 16% with 2.1-2.9 alleles per locus. No locus was recovered that was diagnostic for any of the field populations. Allelic frequency differences among five field strains from the Amazon basin and eastern coastal Brazil were very low, with Nei's genetic distances of less than 0.01 separating them. The two inland and southerly samples from Minas Gerais (Lapinha) and Bahia (Jacobina) states were more distinctive with genetic distances of 0.024-0.038 and 0.038-0.059, respectively, when compared with the five other samples. These differences were the consequence of several high frequency alleles (glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase [Gpd1.69] and phosphoglucomutase [Pgm1.69]) relatively uncommon in other strains. The low genetic distances, absence of diagnostic loci, and the distribution of genes in geographic space indicate L. longipalpis of Brazil to be a single, but genetically heterogeneous, polymorphic species.


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