Limited Usefulness of Microsatellite Markers from the Malaria Vector Anophelesgambiae When Applied to the Closely Related Species Anopheles melas Academic Article uri icon


  • Anopheles melas is a brackish water mosquito found in coastal West Africa where it is a dominant malaria vector locally. In order to facilitate genetic studies of this species, 45 microsatellite loci originally developed for Anopheles gambiae were sequenced in An. melas. Those that were suitable based on repeat number and flanking regions were examined in 2 natural populations from Equatorial Guinea. Only 15 loci were eventually deemed suitable as polymorphic markers in An. melas populations. These loci were screened in 4 populations from a wider geographic range. Heterozygosity estimates ranged from 0.18 to 0.79, and 2.5-15 average alleles were observed per locus, yielding 13 highly polymorphic markers and 2 loci with lower variability. To examine the usefulness of microsatellite markers when applied in a sibling species, the original An. gambiae specific markers were used to amplify 5 loci in An. melas. Null alleles were found for 1 An. gambiae marker. We discuss the pitfalls of using microsatellite loci across closely related species and conclude that in addition to the problem of null alleles associated with this practice, many loci may prove to be of very limited use as polymorphic markers even when used in a sibling species.

author list (cited authors)

  • Deitz, K. C., Reddy, V. P., Reddy, M. R., Satyanarayanah, N., Lindsey, M. W., Overgaard, H. J., ... Slotman, M. A.

citation count

  • 8

publication date

  • July 2012