The closely related and morphologically indistinguishable mosquito species in the Afrotropical complex differ dramatically in their contribution to malaria transmission, ranging from major vectors through minor or locally important vectors and nonvectors. Radiation of the complex and ongoing diversification within its nominal species appears to be a product of recent and rapid adaptation to environmental heterogeneities, notably those of anthropogenic origin. Polytene chromosome and genomic analyses suggest that paracentric chromosomal inversions and possibly other low-recombination regions have played instrumental roles in this process by facilitating ecotypic differentiation both within and across semipermeable species boundaries. Forthcoming complete genome sequences from several members of the complex will provide powerful tools to accelerate ongoing investigation of how genetic diversification of populations and species has shaped behavioral and physiological traits, such as vector competence, that bear on vectorial importance.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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