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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2006 Feb;74(2):284-9.

Pathways of expansion and multiple introductions illustrated by large genetic differentiation among worldwide populations of the southern house mosquito.

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  • 1Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Genetics Program, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, District of Columbia, USA.


The southern house mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus is a principal vector of human lymphatic filariasis, several encephalitides (including West Nile virus), avian malaria, and poxvirus, but its importance as a vector varies considerably among regions. This species has spread with humans and is ubiquitous in tropical urban and suburban environments. This was the first mosquito to reach Hawaii and we performed a worldwide genetic survey using micro-satellite loci to identify its source. Our analyses showed divergent Old World and New World genetic signatures in Cx. quinquefasciatus with further distinctions between east and west African, Asian, and Pacific populations that correlate with the epidemiology of human filariasis. We found that in Hawaii south Pacific mosquitoes have largely replaced the original New World introduction of Cx. quinquefasciatus, consistent with their reported expansion to higher elevations. We hypothesize worldwide pathways of expansion of this disease vector.

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