Gene flow between island populations of the malaria mosquito, Anopheles hinesorum, may have contributed to the spread of divergent host preference phenotypes

Ambrose, Luke, Ortiz-Barrientos, Daniel, Cooper, Robert D., Lobo, Neil F., Burkot, Thomas R., Russell, Tanya L., and Beebe, Nigel W. (2021) Gene flow between island populations of the malaria mosquito, Anopheles hinesorum, may have contributed to the spread of divergent host preference phenotypes. Evolutionary Applications. (In Press)

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Abstract

Anopheles hinesorum is a mosquito species with variable host preference. Throughout New Guinea and northern Australia, An. hinesorum feeds on humans (it is opportunistically anthropophagic) while in the south-west Pacific's Solomon Archipelago, the species is abundant but has rarely been found biting humans (it is exclusively zoophagic in most populations). There are at least two divergent zoophagic (nonhuman biting) mitochondrial lineages of An. hinesorum in the Solomon Archipelago representing two independent dispersals. Since zoophagy is a derived (nonancestral) trait in this species, this leads to the question: has zoophagy evolved independently in these two populations? Or conversely: has nuclear gene flow or connectivity resulted in the transfer of zoophagy? Although we cannot conclusively answer this, we find close nuclear relationships between Solomon Archipelago populations indicating that recent nuclear gene flow has occurred between zoophagic populations from the divergent mitochondrial lineages. Recent work on isolated islands of the Western Province (Solomon Archipelago) has also revealed an anomalous, anthropophagic island population of An. hinesorum. We find a common shared mitochondrial haplotype between this Solomon Island population and another anthropophagic population from New Guinea. This finding suggests that there has been recent migration from New Guinea into the only known anthropophagic population from the Solomon Islands. Although currently localized to a few islands in the Western Province of the Solomon Archipelago, if anthropophagy presents a selective advantage, we may see An. hinesorum emerge as a new malaria vector in a region that is now working on malaria elimination.

Item ID: 69148
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1752-4571
Keywords: gene flow, host preference evolution, island colonization, malaria, population genetics-empirical
Copyright Information: © 2021 The Authors. Evolutionary Applications published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Funders: National Institutes of Health (NIH) International Center of Excellence in Malaria Research (ICEMR), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Hermon Slade Foundation (HSF)
Projects and Grants: NIH-ICEMR Grant/Award Number: U19AI089686-03, NHMRC Grant/Award Number: 117102, HSF Grant/Award Number: 2014000818
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2021 00:58
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420699 Public health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200404 Disease distribution and transmission (incl. surveillance and response) @ 100%
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