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PLoS One. 2017 Sep 20;12(9):e0185150. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185150. eCollection 2017.

Microgeographic population structuring of Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae).

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Departamento de Epidemiologia, Faculdade de Saúde Pública, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brasil.


Aedes aegypti is one of the species most favored by changes in the environment caused by urbanization. Its abundance increases rapidly in the face of such changes, increasing the risk of disease transmission. Previous studies have shown that mosquito species that have adapted to anthropogenic environmental changes benefit from urbanization and undergo population expansion. In light of this, we used microsatellite markers to explore how urbanization processes may be modulating Ae. aegypti populations collected from three areas with different levels of urbanization in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Specimens were collected at eleven sites in three areas with different degrees of urbanization in the city of São Paulo: conserved, intermediate and urbanized. Ten microsatellite loci were used to characterize the populations from these areas genetically. Our findings suggest that as urbanized areas grow and the human population density in these areas increases, Ae. aegypti populations undergo a major population expansion, which can probably be attributed to the species' adaptability to anthropogenic environmental changes. Our findings reveal a robust association between, on the one hand, urbanization processes and densification of the human population and, on the other, Ae. aegypti population structure patterns and population expansion. This indicates that this species benefits from anthropogenic effects, which are intensified by migration of the human population from rural to urban areas, increasing the risk of epidemics and disease transmission to an ever-increasing number of people.

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