Evolutionary genetics of Aedes mosquitoes: Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus

We are interested in studying patterns and levels of genetic diversity at neutral and non-neutral DNA regions to understand the worldwide history of colonization of these two mosquitoes species, the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, and the tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus. Presently, these species are major health concerns, as they are both powerful invaders and most importantly they are very efficient vector of yellow and dengue fever and Chikungunya viruses. We intend to understand the worldwide genetic structure of these two important vectors, relate the observed patterns of genomic variation to variation in the species’ ability to transmit the viruses, and the environmental and ecological factors that allow them to invade new geographic areas. We will relate these findings to the impact of climate change on their future distribution. We are also interested in understanding the patterns and selective pressures underlying the emergence and spraed of insecticide resistance, in particular at the kdr region. To do so we have been using a variety of nuclear markers including microsatellite and SNP polymorphisms and are at various stages of development of a SNP chip, that can be of general use to the vector biology community working on these species.

Collaborators: Jeffrey Powell, Ben Evans, Julia Brown, Ademir Martins, Renata Shama, Joshua Richardson, Peter Ambruster (Georgetown), Andrea Gloria-Soria, Norah Saarman and Rob Hallberg.

Undergraduates:  David Keller, Alaric Souza, and Sandra Mendiola

Publication: Slotman, M.A., N. B. Kelly, L. C. Harrington, S. Kitthawee, J. W. Jones, T. W. Scott, A. Caccone, and J.R. Powell. 2006. Polymorphic microsatellites markers for studies of Aedes aegypti (Diptera Culicidae), the vector of dengue and yellow fever. Molecular Ecology Notes, 7: 168-171.