We investigate the genetic basis of anthropophily (human host use) in a non-model mosquito species group, the Anopheles farauti complex from the southwest Pacific. This complex has experienced multiple transitions from anthropophily to zoophily, contrasting with well-studied systems (the global species Aedes aegypti and the African Anopheles gambiae complex) that have evolved to be specialist anthropophiles. By performing tests of selection and assessing evolutionary patterns for >200 olfactory genes from nine genomes, we identify several candidate genes associated with differences in anthropophily in this complex. Based on evolutionary patterns (phylogenetic relationships, fixed amino acid differences, and structural differences) as well as results from selection analyses, we identify numerous genes that are likely to play an important role in mosquitoes' ability to detect humans as hosts. Our findings contribute to the understanding of the evolution of insect olfactory gene families and mosquito host preference as well as having potential applied outcomes.
Keywords: Entomology; Evolutionary biology; Phylogenetics; Zoology.
© 2022 The Author(s).