Molecular phylogeography of the Amazonian Chagas disease vectors Rhodnius prolixus and R. robustus

Authors

  • Fernando A. Monteiro,

    1. Division of Parasitic Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA, 4770 Buford Hwy, Mail Stop F-22, Chamblee, Atlanta, GA 30341–3724, USA,
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  • Toby V. Barrett,

    1. Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazonia, C.P. 478, Manaus, AM, 69011–970, Brazil,
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  • Sinead Fitzpatrick,

    1. Pathogen Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK,
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  • Celia Cordon-Rosales,

    1. Medical Entomology Research and Training Unit/Guatemala, CDC and Center for Health Studies, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala City, Guatemala,
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  • Dora Feliciangeli,

    1. Centro Nacional de Referencia de Flebotomos, Seccion de Entomologia Medica, Universidad de Carabobo, Maracay, Venezuela
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  • Charles B. Beard

    1. Division of Parasitic Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA, 4770 Buford Hwy, Mail Stop F-22, Chamblee, Atlanta, GA 30341–3724, USA,
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and present address: Fernando Monteiro, Laboratório de Doenças Parasitárias, Departamento de Medicina Tropical, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Avenida Brasil 4365, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil, 21045–900. E-mail: fermonte@globo.com

Abstract

The phylogeographical structure of the closely related species Rhodnius prolixus and R. robustus is presented based on a 663-base pair (bp) fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. Twenty haplotypes were recovered from 84 samples examined, representing 26 populations from seven Latin American countries. The resulting phylogenetic tree is composed of five major reciprocally monophyletic clades, one representing R. prolixus and four representing R. robustus. While R. prolixus is a very homogeneous assemblage, R. robustus has deeper clades and is paraphyletic, with the clade comprising R. robustus from Venezuela (Orinoco region) more closely related to the R. prolixus clade than to the other R. robustus populations from the Amazon region. The R. robustus paraphyly was supported further by the analysis of a nuclear gene (D2 region of the 28S RNA) for a subset of specimens. The data support the view that R. robustus represents a species complex. Levels of sequence divergence between clades within each region are compatible with a Pleistocene origin. Nucleotide diversity (π) for all R. prolixus populations was extremely low (0.0008), suggesting that this species went through a recent bottleneck, and was subsequently dispersed by man.

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