Multiple QTL Determine Dorsal Abdominal Scale Patterns in the Mosquito Aedes aegypti

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The mosquito, Aedes aegypti (L.) originated in Sub-Saharan Africa as a dark form sylvan species (A. aegypti formosus). Evolution of A. aegypti aegypti type form as a human commensal facilitated its colonization of most semitropical and tropical areas. We investigated the genetic basis for abdominal white scale presence that represents the diagnostic for sylvan A. aegypti formosus (scales absent), from type form (scales present) and A. aegypti queenslandensis form (dense scaling). We performed quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping using 3 criteria for scale patterns among 192 F1 intercross progeny from matings between a queenslandensis type and an aegypti type form. Results identified 3 QTL determining scale patterns and indicated that classification criteria impact robustness of QTL LOD support. Dark- and light-colored forms exist in sympatry, but vary in multiple phenotypic characteristics, including preferences for vertebrate host, oviposition container, house-entering behavior, and dengue vector competence. Markers associated with 2 QTL regions reflected major reductions in recombination frequencies compared with the standard type form linkage map, suggestive of inversion polymorphisms associated with observed linkage disequilibrium between type-specific characteristics. Understanding the genic basis for differences in A. aegypti forms could inform efforts to develop new mosquito and arboviral disease control strategies.

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