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Surprising variation in Culex quinquefaciatus mosquito might hold clue to filariasis patterns

(24 February 06)

> from the US Academy of Natural Sciences

The southern house mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus, found everywhere in the tropics and subtropics, is actually composed of genetically different strains, according to a team of researchers led by Dina Fonseca of the US Academy of Natural Sciences.

Divergent Old World and New World genetic signatures in the mosquito, with further distinctions between East and West African, Asian, and Pacific populations, correlate with the epidemiology of human filariasis, the reearchers say.

"The surprising thing is that there is actually structure in this mosquito. Researchers had thought that all populations were the same," said Fonseca.

The mosquito carries lymphatic filariasis, but also West Nile virus and other encephalitides, avian malaria and poxvirus, so other disease patterns could also relate to its variation.



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