Molecular techniques are invaluable for investigation on the biodiversity of Anopheles mosquitoes. This study aimed at investigating the spatial-genetic variations among Anopheles mosquitoes from different areas of Peninsular Malaysia, as well as deciphering evolutionary relationships of the local Anopheles mosquitoes with the mosquitoes from neighbouring countries using the anopheline ITS2 rDNA gene.
Recent studies on cytogenetics, behavioral, geographical and distinct morphological characters on adult, pupal and larval stages have revealed that "balabacensis" is a species complex. Anopheles dirus the mainland species, is distributed widely in Thailand and is renowned for its role as primary vector of human malarial parasites. Further, evidence from cytogenetic and taxonomic studies suggests that "An. dirus" is a species complex comprising at least four distinct species provisionally designated: dirus A, B, C and D. These cryptic species are distinguishable only partially morphologically, but can be separated on the basis of metaphase chromosomes using the Giemsa and Hoechst 33258 staining techniques. Apparently, these siblings show distinct patterns of geographic distribution in Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia. The recognition of dirus as a complex of species in Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia requires a re-evaluation of the role that the individual members of this complex have in the transmission of malaria parasites in this region. Cytological analysis of gene rearrangements in ovarian polytene chromosomes has shown that An. maculatus is a sibling-species complex consisting of at least four species in Thailand provisionally designated: maculatus A, B, C and G. These siblings are sympatric in some populations. Furthermore, species B is so highly polymorphic for chromosome rearrangements that four geographic forms can be recognized. It is not known whether these four forms are subspecies or yet further species within the species B complex. These sibling-species must be differentiated in order to understand any differential capabilities in their transmission of human malaria parasites. Anopheles nivipes was elevated from synonymy under An. philippinensis to full species status by Reid, a decision recently confirmed by cross mating experiments. The Thailand Malaria Division does not differentiate these two species and only identifies An. philippinensis, yet, An. nivipes is by far the most common of the two species in Thailand. Furthermore, preliminary surveys of the ovarian polytene chromosomes of several widely separated populations of An. nivipes in Thailand have revealed at least two distinct chromosomal types of nivipes based on fixed inversions on the X chromosomes.
Anopheles cracens has been incriminated as the vector of human knowlesi malaria in peninsular Malaysia. Besides, it is a good laboratory vector of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax. The distribution of An. cracens overlaps with that of An. maculatus, the human malaria vector in peninsular Malaysia that seems to be refractory to P. knowlesi infection in natural settings. Whole genome sequencing was performed on An. cracens and An. maculatus collected here. The draft genome of An. cracens was 395 Mb in size whereas the size of An. maculatus draft genome was 499 Mb. Comparison with the published Malaysian An. maculatus genome suggested the An. maculatus specimen used in this study as a different geographical race. Comparative analyses highlighted the similarities and differences between An. cracens and An. maculatus, providing new insights into their biological behavior and characteristics.
Anopheles (Cellia) maculatus Theobald is a major malaria vector in southern Thailand and peninsular Malaysia, and previous population genetic studies suggested that mountain ranges act as barriers to gene flow. In this study, we examine the genetic variance among 12 collections of natural populations in southern Thailand by analyzing 7 microsatellite loci. Based on analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA), three geographic populations of An. maculatus are suggested. The southern population exists in western Thailand north of 12 degrees north latitude. Mosquitoes to the south fall into two genetic populations: 1) the middle southern collections located on the west side of the Phuket mountain range between 8 degrees and 10 degrees north latitude, and 2) the southern collections located on the east of the Phuket mountain range located between approximately 6.5 degrees and 11.5 degrees north latitude. AMOVA revealed significant genetic differentiation between northern and middle southern and southern populations. The middle southern population was moderately differentiated from the southern population. Furthermore, gene flow was restricted between proximal collections located on different sides of the Phuket mountain range. Collections separated by 50 km exhibited restriction of gene flow when separated by geographic barriers, whereas greater gene flow was evident among collections 650 km apart but without geographic barriers.
Mark-release-recapture experiments were carried out in Sabah, East Malaysia on the malaria and filariasis vector, Anopheles balabacensis. Samples of wild females were marked with different colours of fluorescent pigments, released in man-baited huts fitted with exit traps. Simultaneous collections and releases were also made in night-biting catches on a water buffalo and on four men. All subsequent recaptures were made in the same situation in which the mosquitoes were marked. The same individual mosquitoes were caught biting men and buffalo on different occasions and the numbers caught showed a strong preference for man over buffalo. The length of the oviposition cycle in the field was found to be 3.0 days. After blood-feeding on man in a hut, An. balabacensis were found to exit on the night or early morning. The same individual mosquitoes were found resting in the hut or exit trap on different occasions. The results indicate that there is strong evidence for the existence of genetic variability in the tendency of An. balabacensis to rest in houses and to bite man and buffalo. The obvious existence of this phenomenon is considered discouraging for the prospects of interruption of malaria transmitted by An. balabacensis in nature.
Anopheles (Cellia) litoralis King and Anopheles (Cellia) sundaicus Rodenwaldt, vectors of malaria, were collected from the same brackis and sea-water habitats in six localities in Sabah. They share the same breeding habitats with predominance of one species over the other. The two species although distinct have small morphological differences and are taxonomically separated by certain wing characters. Hybridization between the two species was successful. Reciprocal crosses produced viable progeny which appeared to develop normally to adults. Hybridized females laid fewer viable eggs in comparison with the parents. The F1 hybrids resembled the litoralis parent in most characters. Backcrosses of both litoralis and sundaicus parents with the F1 hybrids yielded no eggs. F1 male hybrids were thus assumed to be sterile. The results obtained from cross matings between the two species suggested something more than subspecific status.
Karyotypes and crossing relationships were investigated for three allopatric populations of Anopheles leucosphyrus in Southeast Asia: South Kalimantan, Sumatra and Thailand. The mitotic karyotypes of these populations were similar to those previously observed in other species of the An. leucosphyrus group. Populations from Thailand and South Kalimantan exhibited telocentric and subtelocentric sex chromosomes, respectively, with a distinctive band of intercalary heterochromatin in the X chromosome. Strikingly different submetacentric X and Y chromosomes were observed in the population from Sumatra, and it seems likely that the evolution of these chromosomes occurred through the acquisition of constitutive heterochromatin. Sterile F1 males were observed in crosses between the Sumatra population and the populations from South Kalimantan and Thailand. No genetic incompatibility was observed in crosses between the latter two populations. We believe that the present concept of An. leucosphyrus includes two allopatric species, one inhabiting Borneo, West Malaysia and southern Thailand and one confined to Sumatra.
Anopheles sundaicus s.l. is a malaria vector in coastal areas of Southeast Asia. Previous studies showed at least four distinct species within the complex. The present study investigated the phylogeography and the status of A. sundaicus s.l. populations from Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia with regard to A. sundaicus s.s. from Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo and A. epiroticus in Vietnam and Thailand. Three lineages recovered by analyses of Cyt-b and COI (mtDNA) confirmed the presence of A. sundaicus s.s. in Malaysian Borneo, the distribution of A. epiroticus from southern Vietnam to peninsular Malaysia, and recognised a distinct form in Indonesia that is named A. sundaicus E. The phylogenetic and demographic analyses suggest that the three species were separated during the Early Pleistocene (1.8-0.78 Myr) and experienced bottlenecks followed by a genetic expansion in more recent times. Based on the results and knowledge of the biogeography of the area, we hypothesise that the combination of cyclical island and refugium creation was the cause of lineage isolation and bottleneck events during the Pleistocene.
The species diversity and genetic structure of mosquitoes belonging to the Anopheles maculatus group in Southeast Asia were investigated using the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) of ribosomal DNA (rDNA). A molecular phylogeny indicates the presence of at least one hitherto unrecognised species. Mosquitoes of chromosomal form K from eastern Thailand have a unique ITS2 sequence that is 3.7% divergent from the next most closely related taxon (An. sawadwongporni) in the group. In the context of negligible intraspecific variation at ITS2, this suggests that chromosomal form K is most probably a distinct species. Although An. maculatus sensu stricto from northern Thailand and southern Thailand/peninsular Malaysia differ from each other in chromosomal banding pattern and vectorial capacity, no intraspecific variation was observed in the ITS2 sequences of this species over this entire geographic area despite an extensive survey. A PCR-based identification method was developed to distinguish five species of the group (An. maculatus, An. dravidicus, An. pseudowillmori, An. sawadwongporni and chromosomal form K) to assist field-based studies in northwestern Thailand. Sequences from 187 mosquitoes (mostly An. maculatus and An. sawadwongporni) revealed no intraspecific variation in specimens from Thailand, Cambodia, mainland China, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam, suggesting that this identification method will be widely applicable in Southeast Asia. The lack of detectable genetic structure also suggests that populations of these species are either connected by gene flow and/or share a recent common history.
The Anopheles dirus Peyton & Harrison complex of mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) comprises seven known species, including important malaria vectors in Southeast Asia. Specific identification of each species of the complex, which cannot be distinguished using morphological characters, is crucial for understanding vector ecology and implementing effective control measures. Derived from individual random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers, sequence characterized amplified regions (SCAR) were analysed for the design of specific paired-primers. Combination of six SCAR primers resulted in the development of a simple, robust, single multiplex PCR able to identify three important malaria vectors among the four most common species (A, B, C, D) of the complex: species A from several Southeast Asian countries, species B from Perlis, Malaysia, and species C and D from Thailand.
Three taxa of the malaria mosquito Anopheles balabacensis complex representing three geographical regions (Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah) in Southeast Asia, were analysed for genetic variation at 15 gene-enzyme systems. The Sabah taxon was monomorphic for all the 15 gene-enzyme systems. Only two gene-enzyme systems (esterase and glucose phosphate isomerase) were variable in the Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia taxa. The average heterozygosity or gene diversity was 0.007 for the Thailand taxon and 0.028 for the Peninsular Malaysia (Perlis) taxon. There were no unique gene-enzyme markers in the three taxa studied. The average values of genetic identities (0.933-0.997) and genetic distances (0.003-0.069) indicate that these three taxa are of subspecific status.
During the intermonsoon period from mid-September to mid-October 1986, wild-caught Anopheles balabacensis Baisas females were marked and released in a host-choice experiment. Association between capture and recapture of marked mosquitoes from human and bovid hosts and blood meal host identification of recaptured females were determined on a daily basis. Although the mark-recapture and blood meal data indicated behavioral heterogeneity between buffalo and human biters, restriction endonuclease fragment length polymorphism analysis revealed no differences in repeat sequence profiles. Doubly-marked recaptures strongly indicated a "learning" component involved in a separate host preference experiment. In a "habitat loyalty" experiment conducted in January 1987, females of An. balabacensis preferentially returned to the resting sites (indoor surfaces and exit traps) where they were first caught. Of nine isozyme loci found to be polymorphic, the genotypic frequencies of Esterase-3 and Isocitrate dehydrogenase-3 were different in "faithfully" endophilic and exophilic subpopulations. Genetic heterozygosity, as determined by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, was greater in exophilic than endophilic population components. These results confirm that genetic and learning components can significantly influence house resting and host seeking behavior and may contribute to local epidemiological patterns of malaria transmission observed in Sabah, Malaysia.
Starch-gel electrophoretic studies on nine gene-enzyme systems comprising 14 loci revealed a fair level of genetic variation in two population samples of Anopheles maculatus from Peninsular Malaysia. The proportion of polymorphic loci was 0.36 for the Fort Bertau sample and 0.29 for the Gua Musang sample, while the mean heterozygosity value was 0.09 for Fort Bertau and 0.07 for Gua Musang. The values of genetic similarity (I = 0.98) and genetic distance (D = 0.02) were of the rank of geographical populations.
Until recently, very little was known of Anopheles species complexes and their relationships to epidemiology and malaria transmission in Southeast Asia. During the past eight years, extensive studies on the genetics of natural populations of anopheline mosquitoes in this region, involving the interdisciplinary efforts of taxonomists, operational entomologists and biologists, have revealed groups of cryptic species of Anopheles vectors, particularly the An. leucos phyrus group. This species group comprise seventeen species and two subspecies widely distributed in the forested areas of Southeast Asia. Among these species. An. dirus Peyton and Harrison, has been shown by cytogenetic and morphological studies to be a complex of at least seven isomorphic species, provisionally designated species A, B, C, D, E, F and takasagoensis, on the Southeast Asian mainland. Cytological identification of these species is based on distinct banding patterns of salivary gland polytene chromosomes as well as heterochromatin differences in mitotic karyotypes. The five species found in Thailand (A-D, F) exhibit distinct geographic distributions. Species A is widespread throughout Thailand except in the south. Species B had been found in sympatry with species C in southern Thailand and both seem to show north-south clinal geographic variation. Species D is common on the west side of southern Thailand and along the Thai-Burmese border in sympatry with species A. Species F, An. nemophilous Peyton and Ramalingam, has been found in a population at the Thai-Malaysian border in this study although it was known to be common in southern and western Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia. Species E is known only from western India. The five species found in Thailand also exhibit seasonal variation in relative abundance and different nocturnal biting cycles. Chromosomal polymorphisms have been observed in mitotic and polytene chromosomes of An. dirus A and D. Species B and C also show heterochromatin variation in the sex chromosomes, but are monomorphic for the standard sequence in polytene chromosomes. These biological characteristics of the An. dirus complex may have implications for understanding the epidemiology of malaria in Southeast Asia. Recent cytogenetic studies of wild-caught samples of An. leucosphyrus from Sumatra, Kalimantan and southern Thailand have revealed the presence of two distinct species within this taxon. Species A is widely distributed in southern Thailand, East Malaysia and Kalimantan, while species B is confined to Sumatra. The two isomorphic species are vectors of human malaria within their range of distribution.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
Two separate observations from recent electrophoretic studies of the systematics and population genetics of laboratory-reared populations which had a long history of colonization in various laboratories, were found to be inconsistent with the present study which used wild-caught populations from East Malaysia. Reanalysis of the two data sets generally indicated a low amount of genetic variation in laboratory colonies. The latter is characterized by higher frequency of monomorphic loci, low average heterozygosity values and, in one extreme case, no variability at two loci. However, natural populations of An. balabacensis and An. leucosphyrus showed more protein variability by the use of polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Since laboratory-maintained mosquitoes are genetically and phenotypically different from those in the field, results of laboratory studies on the systematics and population genetics of Anopheles species complexes may be biased.
Anopheles gambiae females are the world's most successful vectors of human malaria. However, a fraction of these mosquitoes is refractory to Plasmodium development. L3-5, a laboratory selected refractory strain, encapsulates transforming ookinetes/early oocysts of a wide variety of Plasmodium species. Previous studies on these mosquitoes showed that one major (Pen1) and two minor (Pen2, Pen3) autosomal dominant quantitative trait loci (QTLs) control the melanotic encapsulation response against P. cynomolgi B, a simian malaria originating in Malaysia.
Anopheles balabacensis, the primary vector of Plasmodium knowlesi in Sabah, Malaysia, is both zoophilic and anthropophilic, feeding on macaques as well as humans. It is the dominant Anopheles species found in Kudat Division where it is responsible for all the cases of P. knowlesi. However there is a paucity of basic biological and ecological information on this vector. We investigated the genetic variation of this species using the sequences of cox1 (1,383 bp) and cox2 (685 bp) to gain an insight into the population genetics and inter-population gene flow in Sabah. A total of 71 An. balabacensis were collected from seven districts constituting 14 subpopulations. A total of 17, 10 and 25 haplotypes were detected in the subpopulations respectively using the cox1, cox2 and the combined sequence. Some of the haplotypes were common among the subpopulations due to gene flow occurring between them. AMOVA showed that the genetic variation was high within subpopulations as compared to between subpopulations. Mantel test results showed that the variation between subpopulations was not due to the geographical distance between them. Furthermore, Tajima's D and Fu's Fs tests showed that An. balabacensis in Sabah is experiencing population expansion and growth. High gene flow between the subpopulations was indicated by the low genetic distance and high gene diversity in the cox1, cox2 and the combined sequence. However the population at Lipasu Lama appeared to be isolated possibly due to its higher altitude at 873 m above sea level.