The population structure of the Anopheles gambiae complex is unusual, with several sibling species often occupying a single area and, in one of these species, An. gambiae sensu stricto, as many as three "chromosomal forms" occurring together. The chromosomal forms are thought to be intermediate between populations and species, distinguishable by patterns of chromosome gene arrangements. The extent of reproductive isolation among these forms has been debated. To better characterize this structure we measured effective population size, N(e), and migration rates, m, or their product by both direct and indirect means. Gene flow among villages within each chromosomal form was found to be large (N(e)m > 40), was intermediate between chromosomal forms (N(e)m approximately 3-30), and was low between species (N(e)m approximately 0.17-1.3). A recently developed means for distinguishing among certain of the forms using PCR indicated rates of gene flow consistent with those observed using the other genetic markers.
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