The role of interspecific hybridisation in the evolution of pest species is poorly understood. In mosquito disease vectors this is of particular importance due to the evolution of insecticide resistance and the proposed release of transgenic strains that are refractory to the malaria parasite. In this study, we apply population genetic methods in a novel manner to determine whether mitochondrial DNA sequences have introgressed between the closely related African malaria vectors Anopheles gambiae and A. arabiensis. Our results suggest that speciation was geologically recent and ancestral haplotypes at the ND5 locus are retained in both species. In addition, comparing haplotype frequencies in allopatric and sympatric populations, suggest locale specific unidirectional introgression of mitochondria from A. arabiensis into A. gambiae.
- Disease vectors