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Genome-wide SNPs reveal novel patterns of spatial genetic structure in Aedes albopictus (Diptera Culicidae) population in China



Since the second half of the 20th century, Aedes albopictus, a vector for more than 20 arboviruses, has spread worldwide. Aedes albopictus is the main vector of infectious diseases transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes in China, and it has caused concerns regarding public health. A comprehensive understanding of the spatial genetic structure of this vector species at a genomic level is essential for effective vector control and the prevention of vector-borne diseases.


During 2016-2018, adult female Ae. albopictus mosquitoes were collected from eight different geographical locations across China. Restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq) was used for high-throughput identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and genotyping of the Ae. albopictus population. The spatial genetic structure was analyzed and compared to those exhibited by mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) and microsatellites in the Ae. albopictus population.


A total of 9,103 genome-wide SNP loci in 101 specimens and 32 haplotypes of cox1 in 231 specimens were identified in the samples from eight locations in China. Principal component analysis revealed that samples from Lingshui and Zhanjiang were more genetically different than those from the other locations. The SNPs provided a better resolution and stronger signals for novel spatial population genetic structures than those from the cox1 data and a set of previously genotyped microsatellites. The fixation indexes from the SNP dataset showed shallow but significant genetic differentiation in the population. The Mantel test indicated a positive correlation between genetic distance and geographical distance. However, the asymmetric gene flow was detected among the populations, and it was higher from south to north and west to east than in the opposite directions.


The genome-wide SNPs revealed seven gene pools and fine spatial genetic structure of the Ae. albopictus population in China. The RAD-seq approach has great potential to increase our understanding of the spatial dynamics of population spread and establishment, which will help us to design new strategies for controlling vectors and mosquito-borne diseases.

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