Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center
University of California
Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center

Culex pipiens population genetics

Population structure of Culex pipiens complex (in collaboration with Gregory Lanzaro and staff in the Vector Genetics Lab at UC Davis. PI - Cornel)

Culex quinquefasciatus
Culex quinquefasciatus
Cx. quinquefasciatus, Cx. pipiens,  and Cx. pipiens molestus members of the Cx. pipiens complex have undergone enormous adaptations and expansions into urban and peri-urban environments worldwide. However, the systematics of the members of the Culex pipiens complex has been investigated for many years and still there is no universal consensus on the genetic relatedness of the primary members of the complex. Confusion arises because the members of the complex do not behave and genetically interact consistently where they occur in sympatry in various parts of the World (see Cornel et al. 2003).   We developed a polytene chromosome map for one of the members of the complex namely, Culex quinquefasciatus from (South Africa) called the Johannes burg strain (Mcbee e tal. 2003).  The full genome of this mosquito strain was completed and published in 2010 (see Arensburger et al. 2010). Unfortunately the polytenization of the chromosome and hence production of readable spreads for all members of the complex and even strains of the same species is not consistent which precludes their usefulness for detailed population genetic studies. We are currently engaged in studies using microsatellites (Edillo et al. 2007) and single nucleotide polymorphisms as genetic markers to investigate in various environs the extent of gene flow and degree of relatedness/differentiation of populations of members of this complex in California.  Identification and resolution of Cx. pipiens s.l. inCalifornia still needs considerable research and we expect that we will continue to work on this complex for many years to come.

 Edillo, F. E., Tripet, F., McAbee, R. D., Foppa, I, M., Lanzaro, G. C., Cornel, A. J. and Spielman, A. A set of broadly applicable microsatellite markers for analyzing the structure of Culex pipiens s.l. (Diptera: Culicidae) populations. J. Med. Entomol. 44:145-149. 2007.

Peter Arensburger,1* et al. Sequencing of Culex quinquefasciatus establishes a platform for  mosquito comparative genomics. Sequencing of Culex quinquefasciatus establishes a platform for mosquito comparative genomics. Science 333: 86-88. 2010.


Cornel, A. J., McAbee, R., Rasgon, J., Stanich,  M., Scott, T. W. & Coetzee, M.  Differences in extent of genetic introgression between sympatric Culex pipiens and Culex quinquefasciatus in California and South Africa. J. Med. Entomol.40: 36-51.2003


McAbee, R. D., Christiansen, J. A. and Cornel, A. J. A detailed larval salivary gland polytene chromosome photomap for Culex quinquefasciatus Say (Diptera: Culicidae) from Johannesburg, South Africa. J. Med. Entomol. 44: 229-237. 2007.


McAbee, R. D., Green, E. N., Holman, J., Christiansen, J., Frye, N., Dealey, K., Mulligan III, S., Brault, A. C. and Cornel, A. J. Identification of Culex pipiens complex mosquitoes in a hybrid zone of West Nile virus transmission in Fresno County, California. Am.J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 78: 303-310.2008.


Y Lee, S Seifert, CS Neiman, RD McAbee, P Goodell, R Trout, GC Lanzaro, AJ Cornel. (2011) High degree of single nucleotide polymorphisms in California Culex pipiens (Diptera: Culicidae) sensu lato. J Med. Entomol. 49(2): 299-306. 2012.

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