Using high-depth whole genome sequencing of F0 mating pairs and multiple individual F1 offspring, we estimated the nuclear mutation rate per generation in the malaria vectors Anopheles coluzzii and Anopheles stephensi by detecting de novo genetic mutations. A purpose-built computer program was employed to filter actual mutations from a deep background of superficially similar artifacts resulting from read misalignment. Performance of filtering parameters was determined using software-simulated mutations, and the resulting estimate of false negative rate was used to correct final mutation rate estimates. Spontaneous mutation rates by base substitution were estimated at 1.00 × 10−9 (95% confidence interval, 2.06 × 10−10—2.91 × 10−9) and 1.36 × 10−9 (95% confidence interval, 4.42 × 10−10—3.18 × 10−9) per site per generation in A. coluzzii and A. stephensi respectively. Although similar studies have been performed on other insect species including dipterans, this is the first study to empirically measure mutation rates in the important genus Anopheles, and thus provides an estimate of µ that will be of utility for comparative evolutionary genomics, as well as for population genetic analysis of malaria vector mosquito species.
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