Battle of the Aedes
Aedes aegypti & Aedes albopictus
In collaboration with Dr. Michael Reiskind’s lab we investigated female avoidance of Aedes aegypti with Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Dr. MH Reiskind and his collaborators found that naïve A. aegypti females will mate with male A. albopictus and this will render them sterile. In areas where both species co-occur the females are significantly less likely to make with the wrong male. Given this interesting pattern of adaptation, we looked at this question from a genomic stand point.
Laboratory selection experiment – here our collaborators conducted a selection experiment generated in the laboratory for female A. aegypti avoidance of mating with male A. albopictus after 6 generations with control lines from the same populations. The two locations of the lines were Key West, Florida and Tucson, Arizona. We found significant genetic differences between the two populations but not between the selected and control lines, which indicates the 6 generations did not result in genome wide divergence. Our goal was to identify the genetic loci involved in mating avoidance and therefore we want to make sure there are only a few loci that are genetically distinct between the control and selected lines. We found significant outlier SNPS that aligned to the draft genome AaegL5 (VectorBase) in 32 different genomic regions across all three A. aegypti chromosomes.
Field-derived mating trials – here our collaborators conducted a field experiment where females collected at the four locations below were tested to see whether they would mate with a male A. albopictus or not. Our results showed significant divergence among geographic locations, but again not significant genetic divergence between females that mated with or avoided mating with A. albopictus. We also found many outlier loci in this study that map to the same regions of the genome as in the selection experiment. In addition, there were many additional outlier regions that clustered in these specific genomic regions. same regions were involved across this small geographic area. To date, our results showed significant outlier loci between selected and control lines of A. aegypti females from Tucson, AZ and Key West, FL. Check out our recent publication here! Also enjoy a short video on the paper below! We are currently writing a grant to further investigate female choosiness in selected and wild populations of females using a genomic and molecular approach.