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      Genetic diversity of Culex pipiens mosquitoes in distinct populations from Europe: contribution of Cx. quinquefasciatus in Mediterranean populations

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          Mosquitoes of the Culex pipiens complex are cosmopolitan, and important vectors of neglected tropical diseases, such as arbovirosis and lymphatic filariasis. Among the complex taxa, Cx. pipiens (with two forms pipiens and molestus) and Cx. quinquefasciatus are the most ubiquitous mosquitoes in temperate and tropical regions respectively. Mosquitoes of this taxa lack of morphological differences between females, but have frank behavioral and physiological differences and have different trophic preferences that influence their vectorial status. Hybridization may change the vectorial capacity of these mosquitoes, increasing vector efficiency and medical importance of resulting hybrids.


          Culex pipiens s.l. from 35 distinct populations were investigated by the study of mtDNA, symbiotic bacterium Wolbachia pipientis, nuclear DNA and flanking region of microsatellite CQ11 polymorphism using PCR with diagnostic primers, RFLP analysis and sequencing.


          Six different mitochondrial haplotypes were revealed by sequencing of the cytochrome oxidase subunit I ( COI) gene and three different Wolbachia ( wPip) groups were identified. A strong association was observed between COI haplotypes/groups, wPip groups and taxa; haplogroup A and infection with wPipII appear to be typical for Cx. pipiens form pipiens, haplotype D and infection with wPipIV for form molestus, while haplogroup E, characteristic of Cx. quinquefasciatus, were correlated with wPipI and found in Cx. pipiens sl. from coastal regions of Southern Europe and Mediterranean region. Analysis of microsatellite locus and nuclear DNA revealed hybrids between Cx. pipiens form pipiens and form molestus, as well as between Cx. pipiens and Cx. quinquefasciatus, in Mediterranean populations, as opposed to Northern Europe. Phylogenetic analysis of COI sequences yielded a tree topology that supported the RFLP analysis with significant bootstrap values for haplotype D and haplogroup E.


          Molecular identification provides the first evidence of the presence of hybrids between Cx. quinquefasciatus and Cx. pipiens as well as cytoplasmic introgression of Cx. quinquefasciatus into Cx. pipiens as a result of hybridization events in coastal regions of Southern Europe and Mediterranean region. Together with observed hybrids between pipiens and molestus forms, these findings point to the presence of hybrids in these areas, with consequent higher potential for disease transmission.

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          The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13071-016-1333-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 39

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          Dating of the human-ape splitting by a molecular clock of mitochondrial DNA.

          A new statistical method for estimating divergence dates of species from DNA sequence data by a molecular clock approach is developed. This method takes into account effectively the information contained in a set of DNA sequence data. The molecular clock of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was calibrated by setting the date of divergence between primates and ungulates at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (65 million years ago), when the extinction of dinosaurs occurred. A generalized least-squares method was applied in fitting a model to mtDNA sequence data, and the clock gave dates of 92.3 +/- 11.7, 13.3 +/- 1.5, 10.9 +/- 1.2, 3.7 +/- 0.6, and 2.7 +/- 0.6 million years ago (where the second of each pair of numbers is the standard deviation) for the separation of mouse, gibbon, orangutan, gorilla, and chimpanzee, respectively, from the line leading to humans. Although there is some uncertainty in the clock, this dating may pose a problem for the widely believed hypothesis that the pipedal creature Australopithecus afarensis, which lived some 3.7 million years ago at Laetoli in Tanzania and at Hadar in Ethiopia, was ancestral to man and evolved after the human-ape splitting. Another likelier possibility is that mtDNA was transferred through hybridization between a proto-human and a proto-chimpanzee after the former had developed bipedalism.
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            "Bird biting" mosquitoes and human disease: a review of the role of Culex pipiens complex mosquitoes in epidemiology.

            The transmission of vector-borne pathogens is greatly influenced by the ecology of their vector, which is in turn shaped by genetic ancestry, the environment, and the hosts that are fed on. One group of vectors, the mosquitoes in the Culex pipiens complex, play key roles in the transmission of a range of pathogens including several viruses such as West Nile and St. Louis encephalitis viruses, avian malaria (Plasmodium spp.), and filarial worms. The Cx. pipiens complex includes Culex pipiens pipiens with two forms, pipiens and molestus, Culex pipiens pallens, Culex quinquefasciatus, Culex australicus, and Culex globocoxitus. While several members of the complex have limited geographic distributions, Cx. pipienspipiens and Cx. quinquefasciatus are found in all known urban and sub-urban temperate and tropical regions, respectively, across the world, where they are often principal disease vectors. In addition, hybrids are common in areas of overlap. Although gaps in our knowledge still remain, the advent of genetic tools has greatly enhanced our understanding of the history of speciation, domestication, dispersal, and hybridization. We review the taxonomy, genetics, evolution, behavior, and ecology of members of the Cx. pipiens complex and their role in the transmission of medically important pathogens. The adaptation of Cx. pipiens complex mosquitoes to human-altered environments led to their global distribution through dispersal via humans and, combined with their mixed feeding patterns on birds and mammals (including humans), increased the transmission of several avian pathogens to humans. We highlight several unanswered questions that will increase our ability to control diseases transmitted by these mosquitoes. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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              Emerging vectors in the Culex pipiens complex.

               D. M. Fonseca (2004)
              In the Old World, some mosquitoes in the Culex pipiens complex are excellent enzootic vectors of West Nile virus, circulating the virus among birds, whereas others bite mainly humans and other mammals. Here we show that, in northern Europe, such forms differing in behavior and physiology have unique microsatellite fingerprints with no evidence of gene flow between them, as would be expected from distinct species. In the United States, however, hybrids between these forms are ubiquitous. Such hybrids between human-biters and bird-biters may be the bridge vectors contributing to the unprecedented severity and range of the West Nile virus epidemic in North America.

                Author and article information

                Parasit Vectors
                Parasit Vectors
                Parasites & Vectors
                BioMed Central (London )
                27 January 2016
                27 January 2016
                : 9
                [ ]N.I. Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, ul. Gubkina 3, 119991 Moscow, Russia
                [ ]Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, University Embankment 1, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia
                [ ]Laboratoire d’Epidémiologie et de Microbiologie Vétérinaire, Service d’Entomologie Médicale, Institut Pasteur de Tunis- Tunis El Manar University, Tunis, Tunisia
                [ ]Global Health and Tropical Medicine, GHTM, Medical Parasitology Unit, Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical, IHMT, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, UNL, Rua da Junqueira 100, 1349-008 Lisbon, Portugal
                [ ]Extraordinary professor at ZRU, Department of Medical Virology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
                © Shaikevich et al. 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100002261, Russian Foundation for Basic Research;
                Award ID: 14_04_01129
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: FCT, Portugal
                Award ID: GHTM-UID/Multi/04413/2013
                Award Recipient :
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                © The Author(s) 2016


                culex pipiens complex, mtdna, coi, wolbachia, nuclear dna, hybrid, mitochondrial introgression


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