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1 May 2012 Genetic Structure of Culex erraticus Populations Across the Americas
Ian H. Mendenhall, Justin Bahl, Michael J. Blum, Dawn M. Wesson
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Culex erraticus (Dyar & Knab) is a potential competent vector for several arboviruses such as Eastern and Venezuelan equine encephalitis viruses and West Nile virus. It therefore may play a role in the maintenance and spread of viral populations in areas of concern, including the United States where it occurs in >33 states. However, little information is available on potential barriers to movement across the species' distribution. Here, we analyze genetic variation among Cx. erraticus collected from Colombia, Guatemala, and nine locations in the United States to better understand population structure and connectivity. Comparative sequence analysis of the second internal transcribed spacer and mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase genes identified two major lineages of sampled populations. One lineage represented the central and eastern United States, whereas the other corresponded to Central America, South America, and the western United States. Hierarchical analysis of genetic variation provided further evidence of regional population structure, although the majority of genetic variation was found to reside within populations, suggestive of large population sizes. Although significant physical barriers such as the Chihuahuan Desert probably constrain the spread of Cx. erraticus, large population sizes and connectivity within regions remain important risk factors that probably contribute to the movement of arboviruses within and between these regions.

© 2012 Entomological Society of America
Ian H. Mendenhall, Justin Bahl, Michael J. Blum, and Dawn M. Wesson "Genetic Structure of Culex erraticus Populations Across the Americas," Journal of Medical Entomology 49(3), 522-534, (1 May 2012).
Received: 8 September 2011; Accepted: 12 March 2012; Published: 1 May 2012

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arbovirus vector
Culex erraticus
population genetic
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