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Effects of Latitude and Longitude on the Population Structure of Culex pipiens s.l., Vectors of West Nile Virus in North America

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  • 1 Former Address: Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Bentley College, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, Waltham, Massachusetts; Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Environmental Protection, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Fairfax Department of Health, Fairfax, Virginia; Virginia Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology, Richmond, Virginia; Division for Biodiversity and Ecological Entomology, Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, Illinois; W.C. Gorgas Center for Geographic Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama; Department of Epidemiology, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana; Vector-borne Disease Laboratory, Maine Medical Center Research Institute, South Portland, Maine; Tennessee Department of Health Communicable and Environmental Disease Services, Nashville, Tennessee; Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts

We assessed the structure and latitudinal selection that might result in sensitivities to critical day-lengths that trigger diapause between Culex pipiens populations distributed along North-South and East-West axes in eastern North America. Strong population structure between Cx. p. pipiens and Cx. p. quinquefasciatus existed. Among Cx. p. pipiens, a 100-km increase in the latitudinal change resulted in an increased square root of FST by 0.002. A 100-km increase in the longitudinal change caused an increased square root of FST by 0.035. A lack of latitudinal influence on the structure between Cx. p. pipiens populations suggests a uniform signal using the 12 microsatellite markers, which might increase the risk of West Nile virus (WNV) transmission toward northern areas because of longer breeding season, extend host-seeking period, and larger population size. Northern Cx. p. pipiens may have undergone additional generations before diapause is triggered, magnifying population size when WNV amplification is peaking.

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