Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Microgeographic and temporal genetic changes of Aedes aegypti from Medellín, Colombia.

Abstract

Introduction: Aedes aegypti populations may experience changes in abundance and genetic diversity in addition to changes in their evolutionary capability to respond to vector control. The knowledge on the changes in genetic variation on a spatio-temporal scale improves the epidemiological understanding of dengue and supports the appropriate and timely design of vector control strategies. Objective: To assess the genetic changes, diversity and gene flow in six microgeographical populations of Ae. aegypti in Medellín for different epidemiological periods of dengue. Materials and methods: A total of 255 specimens from six different neighborhoods in Medellín were used to assess variations in the CO1 mtDNA haplotype composition, diversity and genetic differentiation for an epidemic period (2010) and an endemic period (2012). Results: Two groups of highly differentiated haplotypes were present in both periods, and a high-frequency haplotype was assessed for all neighborhoods. The highest haplotype diversity was recorded in 2012, but the maximum nucleotide diversity was recorded in 2010. No significant correlation between genetic and geographic distances was observed. Conclusions: The genetic composition of Ae. aegypti varies over time without a predictable pattern. In addition, the presence of a high-frequency haplotype in both periods could indicate a persistent variation adapted to vector control. However, the simultaneous movement of highly differentiated CO1 haplotypes compatible with multiple introductions suggests that different gene pools would be suitable for transmission. These results are consistent with mosquito dispersion due to human activities, which would enable the rapid spread of the virus during epidemics in Medellin.