Microsatellite analysis of genetic structure in natural Triatoma infestans (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) populations from Argentina: its implication in assessing the effectiveness of Chagas’ disease vector control programmes

Authors

  • ALICIA R. PÉREZ DE ROSAS,

    1. Cátedra de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Pabellón Argentina 2do Piso, Ciudad Universitaria, CP 5000 Córdoba, Argentina,
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  • ELSA L. SEGURA,

    1. Instituto Nacional de Parasitología Dr. Mario Fatala Chabén, Avenida Paseo Colón 568, 1063 Buenos Aires, Argentina
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  • BEATRIZ A. GARCÍA

    1. Cátedra de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Pabellón Argentina 2do Piso, Ciudad Universitaria, CP 5000 Córdoba, Argentina,
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Dr Beatriz Alicia García, Fax: 54-351-4333072; E-mail: bgarcia@biomed.uncor.edu

Abstract

The genetic structure in populations of the Chagas’ disease vector Triatoma infestans was examined. Comparisons of the levels of genetic variability in populations of this species from areas with different periods since last insecticide treatment and from areas that never received treatment were also carried out. A total of 598 insects from 19 populations were typed for 10 polymorphic microsatellite loci. The average observed and expected heterozygosities ranged from 0.186 to 0.625 and from 0.173 to 0.787, respectively. Genetic drift and limited gene flow appear to have generated a substantial degree of genetic differentiation among the populations of T. infestans. Departures from Hardy–Weinberg expectations due to an excess of homozygotes suggested the presence of null alleles and population subdivision. Microgeographical analysis supports the existence of subdivision in T. infestans populations. Levels of genetic diversity in the majority of the populations of T. infestans from insecticide-treated localities were similar or higher than those detected in populations from areas without treatment. Since the populations of T. infestans are subdivided, a population bottleneck would result in independent genetic drift effects that could randomly preserve different combinations of alleles in each subpopulation. These events followed by a rapid population growth could have preserved high levels of genetic diversity. This study supports the hypothesis of vector population recovery from survivors of the insecticide-treated areas and therefore highlights the value of population genetic analyses in assessing the effectiveness of Chagas’ disease vector control programmes.

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