In silico karyotyping of chromosomally polymorphic malaria mosquitoes in the anopheles gambiae Complex

R. Rebecca Love, Seth N. Redmond, Marco Pombi, Beniamino Caputo, Vincenzo Petrarca, Alessandra Della Torre, Anopheles gambiae 1000 Genomes Consortium, Nora J. Besansky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Chromosomal inversion polymorphisms play an important role in adaptation to environmental heterogeneities. For mosquito species in the Anopheles gambiae complex that are significant vectors of human malaria, paracentric inversion polymorphisms are abundant and are associated with ecologically and epidemiologically important phenotypes. Improved understanding of these traits relies on determining mosquito karyotype, which currently depends upon laborious cytogenetic methods whose application is limited both by the requirement for specialized expertise and for properly preserved adult females at specific gonotrophic stages. To overcome this limitation, we developed sets of tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) inside inversions whose biallelic genotype is strongly correlated with inversion genotype. We leveraged 1,347 fully sequenced An. gambiae and Anopheles coluzzii genomes in the Ag1000G database of natural variation. Beginning with principal components analysis (PCA) of population samples, applied to windows of the genome containing individual chromosomal rearrangements, we classified samples into three inversion genotypes, distinguishing homozygous inverted and homozygous uninverted groups by inclusion of the small subset of specimens in Ag1000G that are associated with cytogenetic metadata. We then assessed the correlation between candidate tag SNP genotypes and PCA-based inversion genotypes in our training sets, selecting those candidates with >80% agreement. Our initial tests both in held-back validation samples from Ag1000G and in data independent of Ag1000G suggest that when used for in silico inversion genotyping of sequenced mosquitoes, these tags perform better than traditional cytogenetics, even for specimens where only a small subset of the tag SNPs can be successfully ascertained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3249-3262
Number of pages14
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Anopheles gambiae
  • chromosomal inversion polymorphism
  • genomics
  • inversion genotyping
  • karyotype analysis
  • malaria vector
  • tag SNP

Cite this