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Keywords:

  • Anopheles dirus;
  • gene flow;
  • introgression;
  • malaria vectors;
  • microsatellites;
  • population expansion

Abstract

Genetic structure and species relationships were studied in three closely related mosquito species, Anopheles dirus A, C and D in Thailand using 11 microsatellite loci and compared with previous mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) data on the same populations. All three species were well differentiated from each other at the microsatellite loci. Given the almost complete absence of mtDNA differentiation between An. dirus A and D, this endorses the previous suggestion of mtDNA introgression between these species. The high degree of differentiation between the northern and southern population of An. dirus C (RST = 0.401), in agreement with mtDNA data, is suggestive of incipient species. The lack of genetic structure indicated by microsatellites in four populations of An. dirus A across northern Thailand also concurs with mtDNA data. However, in An. dirus D a limited but significant level of structure was detected by microsatellites over ~400 km in northern Thailand, whereas the mtDNA detected no population differentiation over a much larger area (>1200 km). There is prior evidence for population expansion in the mtDNA. If this is due to a selective sweep originating in An. dirus D, the microsatellite data may indicate greater barriers to gene flow within An. dirus D than in species A. Alternatively, there may have been historical introgression of mtDNA and subsequent demographic expansion which occurred first in An. dirus D so enabling it to accumulate some population differentiation. In the latter case the lack of migration-drift equilibrium precludes the inference of absolute or relative values of gene flow in An. dirus A and D.