Population structure of the malaria vector Anopheles darlingi in a malaria-endemic region of eastern Amazonian Brazil.

Conn JE, Vineis JH, Bollback JP, Onyabe DY, Wilkerson RC & Povoa MM

(2006) Am J Trop Med Hyg 74, 798-806.

Anopheles darlingi is the primary malaria vector in Latin America, and is especially important in Amazonian Brazil. Historically, control efforts have been focused on indoor house spraying using a variety of insecticides, but since the mid-1990s there has been a shift to patient treatment and focal insecticide fogging. Anopheles darlingi was believed to have been significantly reduced in a gold-mining community, Peixoto de Azevedo (in Mato Grosso State), in the early 1990s by insecticide use during a severe malaria epidemic. In contrast, although An. darlingi was eradicated from some districts of the city of Belem (the capital of Para State) in 1968 to reduce malaria, populations around the water protection area in the eastern district were treated only briefly. To investigate the population structure of An. darlingi including evidence for a population bottleneck in Peixoto, we analyzed eight microsatellite loci of 256 individuals from seven locations in Brazil: three in Amapa State, three in Para State, and one in Mato Grosso State. Allelic diversity and mean expected heterozygosity were high for all populations (mean number alleles/locus and H(E) were 13.5 and 0.834, respectively) and did not differ significantly between locations. Significant heterozygote deficits were associated with linkage disequilibrium, most likely due to either the Wahlund effect or selection. We found no evidence for a population bottleneck in Peixoto, possibly because the reduction was not extreme enough to be detected. Overall estimates of long-term N(e) varied from 92.4 individuals under the linkage disequilibrium model to infinity under the heterozygote excess model. Fixation indices and analysis of molecular variance demonstrated significant differentiation between locations north and south of the Amazon River, suggesting a degree of genetic isolation between them, attributed to isolation by distance.

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Andrew Rambaut, 2007