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Parasit Vectors. 2018 Mar 27;11(1):214. doi: 10.1186/s13071-018-2785-9.

Population genetics analysis of Phlebotomus papatasi sand flies from Egypt and Jordan based on mitochondrial cytochrome b haplotypes.

Author information

Eck Institute for Global Health, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, 46556, USA.
F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, Department of Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), Bethesda, MD, 20814, USA.
Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research, NIAID-NIH, 12735 Twinbrook Parkway, Rockville, MD, 20852, USA.
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, 22110, Jordan.
Vector Biology Research Program, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3), Cairo, Egypt.
Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Ege University, İzmir, Turkey.
Department of Medical Epidemiology, Laboratory of Transmission, Control and Immunobiology of Infections (LR11IPT02) Institut Pasteur de Tunis, 13 Place Pasteur BP-74, 1002, Tunis-Belvedere, Tunisia.
Department of Medical Entomology & Vector Control, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, 1417613151, Iran.
Department of Tropical Medicine, Military Hospital Hamburg, Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 74, 20359, Hamburg, Germany.
Faculty of Pharmacy, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem, Palestine.
Department of Entomology, Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University, Abbassia, Cairo, 11566, Egypt.
Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Sabratha, Sabratha, Libya.
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, the Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, Hadassah Medical School, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.
Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem, Palestine.
Eck Institute for Global Health, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, 46556, USA.



Phlebotomus papatasi sand flies are major vectors of Leishmania major and phlebovirus infection in North Africa and across the Middle East to the Indian subcontinent. Population genetics is a valuable tool in understanding the level of genetic variability present in vector populations, vector competence, and the development of novel control strategies. This study investigated the genetic differentiation between P. papatasi populations in Egypt and Jordan that inhabit distinct ecotopes and compared this structure to P. papatasi populations from a broader geographical range.


A 461 base pair (bp) fragment from the mtDNA cytochrome b (cyt b) gene was PCR amplified and sequenced from 116 individual female sand flies from Aswan and North Sinai, Egypt, as well as Swaimeh and Malka, Jordan. Haplotypes were identified and used to generate a median-joining network, F ST values and isolation-by-distance were also evaluated. Additional sand fly individuals from Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Tunisia and Turkey were included as well as previously published haplotypes to provide a geographically broad genetic variation analysis.


Thirteen haplotypes displaying nine variant sites were identified from P. papatasi collected in Egypt and Jordan. No private haplotypes were identified from samples in North Sinai, Egypt, two were observed in Aswan, Egypt, four from Swaimeh, Jordan and two in Malka, Jordan. The Jordan populations clustered separately from the Egypt populations and produced more private haplotypes than those from Egypt. Pairwise F ST values fall in the range 0.024-0.648.


The clustering patterns and pairwise F ST values indicate a strong differentiation between Egyptian and Jordanian populations, although this population structure is not due to isolation-by-distance. Other factors, such as environmental influences and the genetic variability in the circulating Le. major parasites, could possibly contribute to this heterogeneity. The present study aligns with previous reports in that pockets of genetic differentiation exists between populations of this widely dispersed species but, overall, the species remains relatively homogeneous.


Cytochrome b; Egypt; Genetic differentiation; Haplotypes; Jordan; Phlebotomus papatasi; Population genetics; Sand flies; mtDNA

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