When genetic distance matters: measuring genetic differentiation at microsatellite loci in whole-genome scans of recent and incipient mosquito species.
Genetic distance measurements are an important tool to differentiate field populations of disease vectors such as the mosquito vectors of malaria. Here, we have measured the genetic differentiation between Anopheles arabiensis and Anopheles gambiae, as well as between proposed emerging species of the latter taxon, in whole genome scans by using 23-25 microsatellite loci. In doing so, we have reviewed and evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of standard parameters of genetic distance, F(ST), R(ST), (delta mu)(2), and D. Further, we have introduced new parameters, D' and D(K), which have well defined statistical significance tests and complement the standard parameters to advantage. D' is a modification of D, whereas D(K) is a measure of covariance based on Pearson's correlation coefficient. We find that A. gambiae and A. arabiensis are closely related at most autosomal loci but appear to be distantly related on the basis of X-linked chromosomal loci within the chromosomal Xag inversion. The M and S molecular forms of A. gambiae are practically indistinguishable but differ significantly at two microsatellite loci from the proximal region of the X, outside the Xag inversion. At one of these loci, both M and S molecular forms differ significantly from A. arabiensis, but remarkably, at the other locus, A. arabiensis is indistinguishable from the M molecular form of A. gambiae. These data support the recent proposal of genetically differentiated M and S molecular forms of A. gambiae.