Linked-read sequencing identifies abundant microinversions and introgression in the arboviral vector Aedes aegypti


Background Aedes aegypti is the principal mosquito vector of Zika, dengue, and yellow fever viruses. Two subspecies of Ae. aegypti exhibit phenotypic divergence with regard to habitat, host preference, and vectorial capacity. Chromosomal inversions have been shown to play a major role in adaptation and speciation in dipteran insects and would be of great utility for studies of Ae. aegypti. However, the large and highly repetitive genome of Ae. aegypti makes it difficult to detect inversions with paired-end short-read sequencing data, and polytene chromosome analysis does not provide sufficient resolution to detect chromosome banding patterns indicative of inversions.

Results To characterize chromosomal diversity in this species, we have carried out deep Illumina sequencing of linked-read (10X Genomics) libraries in order to discover inversion loci as well as SNPs. We analyzed individuals from colonies representing the geographic limits of each subspecies, one contact zone between subspecies, and a closely related sister species. Despite genome-wide SNP divergence and abundant microinversions, we do not find any inversions occurring as fixed differences between subspecies. Many microinversions are found in regions that have introgressed and have captured genes that could impact behavior, such as a cluster of odorant-binding proteins that may play a role in host feeding preference.

Conclusions Our study shows that inversions are abundant and widely shared among subspecies of Aedes aegypti and that introgression has occurred in regions of secondary contact. This library of 32 novel chromosomal inversions demonstrates the capacity for linked-read sequencing to identify previously intractable genomic rearrangements and provides a foundation for future population genetics studies in this species.




BMC Biology. 2020 Mar 12;18(1):26