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Population genetic structure of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes on Lake Victoria islands, west Kenya.

  • Author(s): Chen, Hong
  • Minakawa, Noboru
  • Beier, John
  • Yan, Guiyun
  • et al.


Understanding the genetic structure of island Anopheles gambiae populations is important for the current tactics in mosquito control and for the proposed strategy using genetically-modified mosquitoes (GMM). Genetically-isolated mosquito populations on islands are a potential site for testing GMM. The objective of this study was to determine the genetic structure of A. gambiae populations on the islands in Lake Victoria, western Kenya.


The genetic diversity and the population genetic structures of 13 A. gambiae populations from five islands on Lake Victoria and six villages from the surrounding mainland area in the Suba District were examined using six microsatellite markers. The distance range of sampling sites varied between 2.5 and 35.1 km.


A similar level of genetic diversity between island mosquito populations and adjacent mainland populations was found. The average number of alleles per locus was 7.3 for the island populations and 6.8 for the mainland populations. The average observed heterozygosity was 0.32 and 0.28 for the island and mainland populations, respectively. A low but statistically significant genetic structure was detected among the island populations (FST = 0.019) and between the island and mainland populations (FST = 0.003). A total of 12 private alleles were found, and nine of them were from the island populations.


A level of genetic differentiation between the island and mainland populations was found. Large extent of gene flow between the island and mainland mosquito populations may result from wind- or human-assisted dispersal. Should the islands on Lake Victoria be used as a trial site for the release program of GMM, mosquito dispersal between the islands and between the island and the mainland should be vigorously monitored.

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