BACKGROUND: Aedes polynesiensis is the primary vector of Wuchereria bancrofti in the South Pacific and an important vector of dengue virus. An improved understanding of the mosquito population genetics is needed for insight into the population dynamics and dispersal, which can aid in understanding the epidemiology of disease transmission and control of the vector. In light of the potential release of a Wolbachia infected strain for vector control, our objectives were to investigate the microgeographical and temporal population genetic structure of A. polynesiensis within the Society Islands of French Polynesia, and to compare the genetic background of a laboratory strain intended for release into its population of origin.

METHODS: A panel of eight microsatellite loci were used to genotype A. polynesiensis samples collected in French Polynesia from 2005-2008 and introgressed A. polynesiensis and Aedes riversi laboratory strains. Examination of genetic differentiation was performed using F-statistics, STRUCTURE, and an AMOVA. BAYESASS was used to estimate direction and rates of mosquito movement.

RESULTS: FST values, AMOVA, and STRUCTURE analyses suggest low levels of intra-island differentiation from multiple collection sites on Tahiti, Raiatea, and Maupiti. Significant pair-wise FST values translate to relatively minor levels of inter-island genetic differentiation between more isolated islands and little differentiation between islands with greater commercial traffic (i.e., Tahiti, Raiatea, and Moorea). STRUCTURE analyses also indicate two population groups across the Society Islands, and the genetic makeup of Wolbachia infected strains intended for release is similar to that of wild-type populations from its island of origin, and unlike that of A. riversi.

CONCLUSIONS: The observed panmictic population on Tahiti, Raiatea, and Moorea is consistent with hypothesized gene flow occurring between islands that have relatively high levels of air and maritime traffic, compared to that of the more isolated Maupiti and Tahaa. Gene flow and potential mosquito movement is discussed in relation to trials of applied autocidal strategies.

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Published in Parasites & Vectors, v. 5, 80.

© 2012 Brelsfoard and Dobson; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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