Genetic Analysis of Invasive Aedes albopictus Populations in Los Angeles County, California and Its Potential Public Health Impact

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Abstract

The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is an anthropophilic aggressive daytime-biting nuisance and an efficient vector of certain arboviruses and filarial nematodes. Over the last 30 years, this species has spread rapidly through human travel and commerce from its native tropical forests of Asia to every continent except Antarctica. In 2011, a population of Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) was discovered in Los Angeles (LA) County, California. To determine the probable origin of this invasive species, the genetic structure of the population was compared against 11 populations from the United States and abroad, as well as preserved specimens from a 2001 introduction into California using the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase 1 (CO1) gene. A total of 66 haplotypes were detected among samples and were divided into three main groups. Aedes albopictus collected in 2001 and 2011 from LA County were genetically related and similar to those from Asia but distinct from those collected in the eastern and southeastern United States. In view of the high genetic similarities between the 2001 and 2011 LA samples, it is possible that the 2011 population represents in part the descendants of the 2001 introduction. There remains an imperative need for improved surveillance and control strategies for this species.

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Zhong, D., Lo, E., Hu, R., Metzger, M. E., Cummings, R., Bonizzoni, M., … Yan, G. (2013). Genetic Analysis of Invasive Aedes albopictus Populations in Los Angeles County, California and Its Potential Public Health Impact. PLoS ONE, 8(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0068586

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