Micro-geographical variation among male populations of the sandfly, Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) intermedia, from an endemic area of American cutaneous leishmaniasis in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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The genetic relationships among male Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) intermedia (Lutz & Neiva) (Diptera: Psychodidae) from three populations from the same endemic area of American cutaneous leishmaniasis (ACL) in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, were compared. The sandflies were collected in three ecologically different habitats: domestic, extra-domestic and sylvatic over a total range of 800 m. Three molecular markers were employed to assess population variation. Based on MLEE markers, it could not be concluded that the three populations do not belong to the same gene pool (Fst = 0.005). No within-population departure from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium was detected (P < 0.05) and they presented the same level of gene variation. The number of migrants (Nm) indicated that at least 50 individuals per generation migrated between the three habitats. RAPD-PCR markers revealed that, except for the primer five, all were polymorphic. Phenetic analysis of the genotypes showed the presence of two principal clusters corresponding to: (1) domestic plus extra-domestic and (2) sylvatic. Unique genotypes were observed in each population. The sylvatic population was the most polymorphic, showing the largest number of genotypes and low level of similarity between them. Three mtDNA gene markers were studied by SSCP analysis. The most frequent haplotype for each marker ranged in frequency from 60 to 87% and individuals with unique haplotypes varied from 1 to 5%. Interestingly, the SSCP analysis showed a low level of polymorphism within populations. The disagreement between the different molecular markers observed and the hypothesis that L. intermedia could be participating in the transmission cycle of Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis in environments ranging from the interior of human dwellings to the forest, are discussed.

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