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Fine-scale adaptive divergence and population genetic structure of Aedes aegypti in Metropolitan Manila, Philippines.

BACKGROUND: The adaptive divergence of Aedes aegypti populations to heterogeneous environments can be a driving force behind the recent expansion of their habitat distribution and outbreaks of dengue disease in urbanized areas. In this study, we investigated the population genomics of Ae. aegypti at a regional scale in Metropolitan Manila, Philippines.

METHODS: We used the Pool-Seq double digestion restriction-site association DNA sequencing (ddRAD-Seq) approach to generate a high number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), with the aim to determine local adaptation and compare the population structure with 11 microsatellite markers. A total of 217 Ae. aegypti individuals from seven female and seven male populations collected from Metropolitan Manila were used in the assays.

RESULTS: We detected 65,473 SNPs across the populations, of which 76 were non-neutral SNPs. Of these non-neutral SNPs, the multivariate regression test associated 50 with eight landscape variables (e.g. open space, forest, etc.) and 29 with five climate variables (e.g. air temperature, humidity, etc.) (P-value range 0.005-0.045) in female and male populations separately. Male and female populations exhibited contrasting spatial divergence, with males exhibiting greater divergence than females, most likely reflecting the different dispersal abilities of male and female mosquitoes. In the comparative analysis of the same Ae. aegypti individuals, the pairwise FST values of 11 microsatellite markers were lower than those of the neutral SNPs, indicating that the neutral SNPs generated via pool ddRAD-Seq were more sensitive in terms of detecting genetic differences between populations at fine-spatial scales.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our study demonstrates the utility of pool ddRAD-Seq for examining genetic differences in Ae. aegypti populations in areas at fine-spatial scales that could inform vector control programs such as Wolbachia-infected mosquito mass-release programs. This in turn would provide information on mosquito population dispersal patterns and the potential barriers to mosquito movement within and around the release area. In addition, the potential of environmental adaptability observed in Ae. aegypti could help population control efforts.

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