Background Anopheles arabiensis is a member of An. gambiae complex and a main malaria vector in Sudan. There is no sufficient An. arabiensis population genetic data available an understanding of vector population structure and genetics are important to the malaria vector control programs. The objective of this investigation is to study the population structure, gene flow and isolation by distance among An. arabiensis for developing control strategies
Methods Mosquitoes were collected from six sites in Sudan using pyrethrum spray catch of indoor resting mosquitoes. Anopheline mosquitos were identified morphologically and based on species specific nucleotide sequences in the ribosomal DNA intergenic spacers (IGS). Seven microsatellite loci published An. gambiae primers were used to amplify the DNA of An. arabiensis samples.
Results PCR confirmed that An. arabiensis was the main malaria vector found in the six localities. Of the seven microsatellite loci utilized, six were found to be highly polymorphic across populations, with high allelic richness and heterozygosity with the remaining one being monomorphic. Deviation from Hardy-Weinberg expectations were found in 21 out of 42 tests in the six populations due to heterozygotes deficiency. Bayesian clustering analysis revealed two gene pools, grouping samples into two population clusters; one includes four and the other includes two populations. The genetic distances between pairs of populations ranged from 0.06 to 0.24. Significant F ST was observed between all An. arabiensis populations . Kr population indicated high genetic differentiation (F ST ranged from 0.17 to 0.24). High gene flow (Nm= 1.6–8.2) was detected between clusters. There was evidence of a bottleneck event in the Hj population. No isolation by distance pattern was detected among populations.
Conclusions This study revealed low levels of population differentiation with high gene flow among six An. arabiensis populations in Sudan.