Background: Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are the most common source of genetic variation in eukaryotic species and have become an important marker for genetic studies. The mosquito Anopheles funestus is one of the major malaria vectors in Africa and yet, prior to this study, no SNPs have been described for this species. Here we report a genome-wide set of SNP markers for use in genetic studies on this important human disease vector.
Results: DNA fragments from 50 genes were amplified and sequenced from 21 specimens of An. funestus. A third of specimens were field collected in Malawi, a third from a colony of Mozambican origin and a third form a colony of Angolan origin. A total of 494 SNPs including 303 within the coding regions of genes and 5 indels were identified. The physical positions of these SNPs in the genome are known. There were on average 7 SNPs per kilobase similar to that observed in An. gambiae and Drosophila melanogaster. Transitions outnumbered transversions, at a ratio of 2:1. The increased frequency of transition substitutions in coding regions is likely due to the structure of the genetic code and selective constraints. Synonymous sites within coding regions showed a higher polymorphism rate than non-coding introns or 3' and 5'flanking DNA with most of the substitutions in coding regions being observed at the 3rd codon position. A positive correlation in the level of polymorphism was observed between coding and non-coding regions within a gene. By genotyping a subset of 30 SNPs, we confirmed the validity of the SNPs identified during this study.
Conclusion: This set of SNP markers represents a useful tool for genetic studies in An. funestus, and will be useful in identifying candidate genes that affect diverse ranges of phenotypes that impact on vector control, such as resistance insecticide, mosquito behavior and vector competence.