• Open Access

Spatial genetic structure of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in mainland Southeast Asia


Dr Catherine Walton, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Michael Smith Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PT, UK.
Tel.: 00 44 (0)161 275 1533; fax: 00 44 (0)161 275 5082; e-mail: catherine.walton@manchester.ac.uk


Aedes aegypti mosquitoes originated in Africa and are thought to have spread recently to Southeast Asia, where they are the major vector of dengue. Thirteen microsatellite loci were used to determine the genetic population structure of A. aegypti at a hierarchy of spatial scales encompassing 36 sites in Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand, and two sites in Sri Lanka and Nigeria. Low, but significant, genetic structuring was found at all spatial scales (from 5 to >2000 km) and significant FIS values indicated genetic structuring even within 500 m. Spatially dependent genetic-clustering methods revealed that although spatial distance plays a role in shaping larger-scale population structure, it is not the only factor. Genetic heterogeneity in major port cities and genetic similarity of distant locations connected by major roads, suggest that human transportation routes have resulted in passive long-distance migration of A. aegypti. The restricted dispersal on a small spatial scale will make localized control efforts and sterile insect technology effective for dengue control. Conversely, preventing the establishment of insecticide resistance genes or spreading refractory genes in a genetic modification strategy would be challenging. These effects on vector control will depend on the relative strength of the opposing effects of passive dispersal.