Population genetics of the mosquito Culex pipiens pallens reveals sex-linked asymmetric introgression by Culex quinquefasciatus

Dina M. Fonseca, Julie L. Smith, Heung Chul Kim, Motoyoshi Mogi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The Culex pipiens complex in Asia includes a temperate subspecies, Culex pipiens pallens, of uncertain taxonomic status. The shape of the male genitalia suggests it is a hybrid between Cx. pipiens and Cx. quinquefasciatus. We studied populations of Cx. p. pallens in Japan, Korea, and China and compared them to local populations of Cx. quinquefasciatus and Cx. p. pipiens. We examined variation in a nuclear intron in the acetylcholinesterase-2 gene [ACE] and eight microsatellite loci. We found a distinct microsatellite signature for Cx. p. pallens indicating restricted gene flow between Eastern and Western populations of Cx. pipiens, supporting the existence of two subspecies. Furthermore, a multilocus genotype analysis revealed current hybridization between Cx. p. pallens and Cx. quinquefasciatus in southern Japan, Republic of Korea, and China but not in Hokkaido, in northern Japan. Surprisingly, however, we found that the sex-linked ACE locus in chromosome I has introgressed asymmetrically through the males such that all male Cx. p. pallens have a copy of the Cx. quinquefasciatus ACE locus. This result highlights some of the potential consequences of hybridization between local and introduced species to disease transmission worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1197-1203
Number of pages7
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


  • Asia
  • Disease vectors
  • Genetic introgression
  • Hybridization
  • Invasive species
  • Sex-linked
  • Speciation


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