Worldwide patterns of genetic differentiation imply multiple 'domestications' of Aedes aegypti, a major vector of human diseases

Julia E. Brown, Carolyn S. Mcbride, Petrina Johnson, Scott Ritchie, Christophe Paupy, Hervé Bossin, Joel Lutomiah, Ildefonso Fernandez-Salas, Alongkot Ponlawat, Anthony J. Cornel, William C. Black IV, Norma Gorrochotegui-Escalante, Ludmel Urdaneta-Marquez, Massamba Sylla, Michel Slotman, Kristy O. Murray, Christopher Walker, Jeffrey R. Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

200 Scopus citations


Understanding the processes bywhich species colonize and adapt tohuman habitats is particularly important in the case of disease-vectoring arthropods. The mosquito species Aedes aegypti, a major vector of dengue and yellow fever viruses, probably originated as a wild, zoophilic species in sub-Saharan Africa, where some populations still breed in tree holes in forested habitats.Many populations of the species, however, have evolved to thrive in human habitats and to bite humans. This includes some populationswithin Africa aswell as almost all those outsideAfrica. It is not clearwhether all domestic populations are genetically related and represent a single 'domestication' event, orwhether associationwith human habitats has developed multiple times independently within the species.To test the hypotheses above,we screened 24worldwide population samples of Ae. aegypti at 12 polymorphic microsatellite loci. We identified two distinct genetic clusters: one included all domestic populations outside of Africa and the other included both domestic and forest populations within Africa. This suggests that human association in Africa occurred independently from that in domestic populations across the rest of the world. Additionally, measures of genetic diversity support Ae. aegypti in Africa as the ancestral form of the species. Individuals from domestic populations outside Africa can reliably be assigned back to their population of origin, which will help determine the origins of new introductions of Ae. aegypti.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2446-2454
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1717
StatePublished - Aug 22 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


  • Aedes aegypti aegypti
  • Aedes aegypti formosus
  • Evolution
  • Human habitats
  • Microsatellites
  • Mosquito genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Worldwide patterns of genetic differentiation imply multiple 'domestications' of Aedes aegypti, a major vector of human diseases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this