High amounts of genetic differentiation between populations of the malaria vector Anopheles arabiensis from West Africa and eastern outer islands.

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  • 1 Laboratoire de Zoologic Médicale, French Institute de Recherche pour le Développement, Institut Pasteur, Dakar, Senegal.

Polymorphism at nine microsatellite loci was examined to assess the level of genetic differentiation between four Anopheles arabiensis populations from Senegal, the high plateau of Madagascar, and Reunion and Mauritius islands. Eight of nine loci showed great polymorphism (2-16 alleles/locus) and significant genetic differentiation was revealed between all four populations by F- and R-statistics, with Fst estimates ranging from 0.080 to 0.215 and equivalent Rst values ranging between 0.022 and 0.300. These high amounts of genetic differentiation are discussed in relation to geographic distance including large bodies of water, and history of mosquito settlement, and insecticide use on the islands. The results suggest that historical events of drift rather than mutation are probably the forces generating genetic divergence between these populations, with homogenization of the gene pool by migration being drastically restricted across the ocean.

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