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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 724609, 11 pages
Research Article

Genetic Diversity and Population Genetics of Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae: Culex spp.) from the Sonoran Desert of North America

1Centro de Investigación en Alimentación y Desarrollo, A.C., Unidad Guaymas, Apartado Postal 284, 85480 Guaymas, SON, Mexico
2Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
3Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de Los Trabajadores del Estado de Sonora (ISSSTESON), 83000 Hermosillo, SON, Mexico
4Laboratorio Estatal de Salud Publica, Zona Edificios Federales, Col. Las Quintas, 83260 Hermosillo, SON, Mexico
5Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
6Laboratorio Nacional de Genómica de Biodiversidad-CINVESTAV, 36821 Irapuato, GTO, Mexico

Received 13 August 2013; Accepted 10 September 2013

Academic Editors: H. A. Lessios and R. Rivas

Copyright © 2013 Edward Pfeiler et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The population genetics and phylogenetic relationships of Culex mosquitoes inhabiting the Sonoran Desert region of North America were studied using mitochondrial DNA and microsatellite molecular markers. Phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) from mosquitoes collected over a wide geographic area, including the Baja California peninsula, and mainland localities in southern Arizona, USA and Sonora, Mexico, showed several well-supported partitions corresponding to Cx. quinquefasciatus, Cx. tarsalis, and two unidentified species, Culex sp. 1 and sp. 2. Culex quinquefasciatus was found at all localities and was the most abundant species collected. Culex tarsalis was collected only at Tucson, Arizona and Guaymas, Sonora. The two unidentified species of Culex were most abundant at Navojoa in southern Sonora. Haplotype and nucleotide diversities in the COI gene segment were substantially lower in Cx. quinquefasciatus compared with the other three species. Analysis of molecular variance revealed little structure among seven populations of Cx. quinquefasciatus, whereas significant structure was found between the two populations of Cx. tarsalis. Evidence for an historical population expansion beginning in the Pleistocene was found for Cx. tarsalis. Possible explanations for the large differences in genetic diversity between Cx. quinquefasciatus and the other species of Culex are presented.