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Background: Anopheles baimaii is a primary vector of human malaria in the forest settings of Southeast Asia including the north-eastern region of India. Here, the genetic population structure and the basic population genetic parameters of An. baimaii in north-east India were estimated using DNA sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase sub unit II (COII) gene. Methods: Anopheles baimaii were collected from 26 geo-referenced locations across the seven north-east Indian states and the COII gene was sequenced from 176 individuals across these sites. Fifty-seven COII sequences of An. baimaii from six locations in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand from a previous study were added to this dataset. Altogether, 233 sequences were grouped into eight population groups, to facilitate analyses of genetic diversity, population structure and population history. Results: A star-shaped median joining haplotype network, unimodal mismatch distribution and significantly negative neutrality tests indicated population expansion in An. baimaii with the start of expansion estimated to be ~0.243 million years before present (MYBP) in north-east India. The populations of An. baimaii from north-east India had the highest haplotype and nucleotide diversity with all other populations having a subset of this diversity, likely as the result of range expansion from north-east India. The north-east Indian populations were genetically distinct from those in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand, indicating that mountains, such as the Arakan mountain range between north-east India and Myanmar, are a significant barrier to gene flow. Within north-east India, there was no genetic differentiation among populations with the exception of the Central 2 population in the Barail hills area that was significantly differentiated from other populations. Conclusions: The high genetic distinctiveness of the Central 2 population in the Barail hills area of the north-east India should be confirmed and its epidemiological significance further investigated. The lack of genetic population structure in the other north-east Indian populations likely reflects large population sizes of An. baimaii that, historically, were able to disperse through continuous forest habitats in the north-east India. Additional markers and analytical approaches are required to determine if recent deforestation is now preventing ongoing gene flow. Until such information is acquired, An. baimaii in north-east India should be treated as a single unit for the implementation of vector control measures. © 2012 Sarma et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Sarma, D. K., Prakash, A., O’Loughlin, S. M., Bhattacharyya, D. R., Mohapatra, P. K., Bhattacharjee, K., … Mahanta, J. (2012). Genetic population structure of the malaria vector Anopheles baimaii in north-east India using mitochondrial DNA. Malaria Journal, 11. https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-11-76