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PLoS One. 2011;6(7):e22219. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022219. Epub 2011 Jul 22.

Population structure of the malaria vector Anopheles sinensis (Diptera: Culicidae) in China: two gene pools inferred by microsatellites.

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Department of Pathogen Biology, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China.



Anopheles sinensis is a competent malaria vector in China. An understanding of vector population structure is important to the vector-based malaria control programs. However, there is no adequate data of A. sinensis population genetics available yet.


This study used 5 microsatellite loci to estimate population genetic diversity, genetic differentiation and demographic history of A. sinensis from 14 representative localities in China. All 5 microsatellite loci were highly polymorphic across populations, with high allelic richness and heterozygosity. Hardy-Weinberg disequilibrium was found in 12 populations associated with heterozygote deficits, which was likely caused by the presence of null allele and the Wahlund effect. Bayesian clustering analysis revealed two gene pools, grouping samples into two population clusters; one includes six and the other includes eight populations. Out of 14 samples, six samples were mixed with individuals from both gene pools, indicating the coexistence of two genetic units in the areas sampled. The overall differentiation between two genetic pools was moderate (F(ST) = 0.156). Pairwise differentiation between populations were lower within clusters (F(ST) = 0.008-0.028 in cluster I and F(ST) = 0.004-0.048 in cluster II) than between clusters (F(ST) = 0.120-0.201). A reduced gene flow (Nm = 1-1.7) was detected between clusters. No evidence of isolation by distance was detected among populations neither within nor between the two clusters. There are differences in effective population size (Ne = 14.3-infinite) across sampled populations.


Two genetic pools with moderate genetic differentiation were identified in the A. sinensis populations in China. The population divergence was not correlated with geographic distance or barrier in the range. Variable effective population size and other demographic effects of historical population perturbations could be the factors affecting the population differentiation. The structured populations may limit the migration of genes under pressures/selections, such as insecticides and immune genes against malaria.

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