Analysis of molecular genetic diversity in nine marker regions of five genes within the bacteriophage WO genomic region revealed high diversity of the Wolbachia pipentis strain wPip in a population of Culex pipiens L. sampled in metropolitan Chicago, IL. From 166 blood fed females, 50 distinct genetic profiles of wPip were identified. Rarefaction analysis suggested a maximum of 110 profiles out of a possible 512 predicted by combinations of the nine markers. A rank-abundance curve showed that few strains were common and most were rare. Multiple regression showed that markers associated with gene Gp2d, encoding a partial putative capsid protein, were significantly associated with ancestry of individuals either to form molestus or form pipiens, as determined by prior microsatellite allele frequency analysis. None of the other eight markers was associated with ancestry to either form, nor to ancestry to Cx. quinquefasciatus Say. Logistic regression of host choice (mammal vs. avian) as determined by bloodmeal analysis revealed that significantly fewer individuals that had fed on mammals had the Gp9a genetic marker (58.5%) compared with avian-fed individuals (88.1%). These data suggest that certain wPip molecular genetic types are associated with genetic admixturing in the Cx. pipiens complex of metropolitan Chicago, IL, and that the association extends to phenotypic variation related to host preference.
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Vol. 49 • No. 3