Malaria control projects based on the introduction and spread of transgenes into mosquito populations depend on the extent of isolation between those populations. On the basis of the distribution of paracentric inversions, Anopheles gambiae has been subdivided into five subspecific chromosomal forms. Estimating gene flow between and within these forms An. gambiae presents a number of challenges. We compared patterns of genetic divergence (F ST) between sympatric populations of the Bamako and Mopti forms at five sites. We used microsatellite loci within the j inversion on chromosome 2, which is fixed in the Bamako form but absent in the Mopti form, and microsatellites on chromosome 3, a region void of inversions. Estimates of genetic diversity and FST's suggest genetic exchanges between forms for the third chromosome but little for the j inversion. These results suggest a role for the inversion in speciation. Extensive gene flow within forms among sites resulted in populations clustering according to form despite substantial gene flow between forms. These patterns underscore the low levels of current gene flow between chromosomal forms in this area of sympatry. Introducing refractoriness genes in areas of the genome void of inversions may facilitate their spread within forms but their passage between forms may prove more difficult than previously thought.
ASJC Scopus subject areas