Phenetic and genetic structure of tsetse fly populations (Glossina palpalis palpalis) in southern Ivory Coast

Dramane Kaba, Sophie Ravel, Geneviève Acapovi-Yao, Philippe Solano, Koffi Allou, Henriette Bosson-Vanga, Laetitia Gardes, Eliezer Kouakou N'Goran, Christopher John Schofield, Moussa Koné, Jean-Pierre Dujardin
Parasites & Vectors 2012, 5: 153

BACKGROUND: Sleeping sickness, transmitted by G. p. palpalis, is known to be present in the Ivory Coast. G. p. palpalis has recently been reported to occur in several places within the town of Abidjan, including: (i) the Banco forest, (ii) the Abobo Adjamé University campus and (iii) the zoological park. Could these three places be treated sequentially, as separate tsetse populations, or should they be taken as one area comprising a single, panmictic population?

METHODS: The amount of gene flow between these places provides strategic information for vector control. It was estimated by the use of both microsatellite DNA and morphometric markers. The idea was to assess the interest of the faster and much less expensive morphometric approach in providing relevant information about population structure. Thus, to detect possible lack of insect exchange between these neighbouring areas of Abidjan, we used both genetic (microsatellite DNA) and phenetic (geometric morphometrics) markers on the same specimens.Using these same markers, we also compared these samples with specimens from a more distant area of south Ivory Coast, the region of Aniassué (186 km north from Abidjan).

RESULTS: Neither genetic nor phenetic markers detected significant differentiation between the three Abidjan G. p. palpalis samples. Thus, the null hypothesis of a single panmictic population within the city of Abidjan could not be rejected, suggesting the control strategy should not consider them separately. The markers were also in agreement when comparing G. p. palpalis from Abidjan with those of Aniassué, showing significant divergence between the two sites.

CONCLUSIONS: Both markers suggested that a successful control of tsetse in Abidjan would require the three Abidjan sites to be considered together, either by deploying control measures simultaneously in all three sites, or by a continuous progression of interventions following for instance the "rolling carpet" principle. To compare the geometry of wing venation of tsetse flies is a cheap and fast technique. Agreement with the microsatellite approach highlights its potential for rapid assessment of population structure.

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