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Science. 2002 Nov 15;298(5597):1415-8. Epub 2002 Oct 3.

A polytene chromosome analysis of the Anopheles gambiae species complex.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze di Sanit√† Pubblica and Istituto Pasteur-Cenci Bolognetti, Universit√† "La Sapienza," Rome, Italy.


Field-collected specimens of all known taxa in the Anopheles gambiae complex were analyzed on the basis of chromosome inversions with reference to a standard polytene chromosome map. The phylogenetic relationships among the seven described species in the complex could be inferred from the distribution of fixed inversions. Nonrandom patterns of inversion distribution were observed and, particularly on chromosome arm 2R, provided evidence for genetically distinct populations in A. gambiae, A. arabiensis, and A. melas. In A. gambiae from Mali, stable genetic differentiation was observed even in populations living in the same region, suggesting a process of incipient speciation which is being confirmed by studies with molecular markers. The possible role of chromosome differentiation in speciation of the A. gambiae complex and in the emergence of distinct chromosomal forms within the nominal species is discussed in relation to human malaria.

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