Effective population sizes of a major vector of human diseases, Aedes aegypti

Norah P. Saarman, Andrea Gloria-Soria, Eric C. Anderson, Benjamin R. Evans, Evlyn Pless, Luciano V. Cosme, Cassandra Gonzalez-Acosta, Basile Kamgang, Dawn M. Wesson, Jeffrey R. Powell
Evolutionary applications
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The effective population size (Ne) is a fundamental parameter in population genetics that determines the relative strength of selection and random genetic drift, the effect of migration, levels of inbreeding, and linkage disequilibrium. In many cases where it has been estimated in animals, Ne is on the order of 10%–20% of the census size. In this study, we use 12 microsatellite markers and 14,888 single nucleotide polymor- phisms (SNPs) to empirically estimate Ne in Aedes aegypti, the major vector of yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses. We used the method of temporal sam- pling to estimate Ne on a global dataset made up of 46 samples of Ae. aegypti that in- cluded multiple time points from 17 widely distributed geographic localities. Our Ne estimates for Ae. aegypti fell within a broad range (~25–3,000) and averaged between 400 and 600 across all localities and time points sampled. Adult census size (Nc) esti- mates for this species range between one and five thousand, so the Ne/Nc ratio is about the same as for most animals. These Ne values are lower than estimates available for other insects and have important implications for the design of genetic control strategies to reduce the impact of this species of mosquito on human health.