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Article

Genetic Diversity in Invasive Populations of Argentine Stem Weevil Associated with Adaptation to Biocontrol

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Genomics Aotearoa and Department of Biochemistry, University of Otago, Dunedin 9054, Aotearoa, New Zealand
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AgResearch, Grasslands Research Centre, Palmerston North 4410, New Zealand
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AgResearch, Invermay Agricultural Centre, Private Bag 50034, Mosgiel, New Zealand
4
AgResearch, Lincoln Science Centre, Private Bag 4749, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
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Bio-Protection Research Centre, PO Box 85084, Lincoln University, Lincoln 7647, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(7), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11070441
Received: 5 June 2020 / Revised: 21 June 2020 / Accepted: 4 July 2020 / Published: 14 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Population Genetics of Insects)
Modified, agricultural landscapes are susceptible to damage by insect pests. Biological control of pests is typically successful once a control agent has established, but this depends on the agent’s capacity to co-evolve with the host. Theoretical studies have shown that different levels of genetic variation between the host and the control agent will lead to rapid evolution of resistance in the host. Although this has been reported in one instance, the underlying genetics have not been studied. To address this, we measured the genetic variation in New Zealand populations of the pasture pest, Argentine stem weevil (Listronotus bonariensis), which is controlled with declining effectiveness by a parasitoid wasp, Microctonus hyperodae. We constructed a draft reference genome of the weevil, collected samples from a geographical survey of 10 sites around New Zealand, and genotyped them using a modified genotyping-by-sequencing approach. New Zealand populations of Argentine stem weevil have high levels of heterozygosity and low population structure, consistent with a large effective population size and frequent gene flow. This implies that Argentine stem weevils were able to evolve more rapidly than their biocontrol agent, which reproduces asexually. These findings show that monitoring genetic diversity in biocontrol agents and their targets is critical for long-term success of biological control. View Full-Text
Keywords: biological control; invasive species; argentine stem weevil; population genetics; genotyping-by-sequencing biological control; invasive species; argentine stem weevil; population genetics; genotyping-by-sequencing
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MDPI and ACS Style

Harrop, T.W.R.; Le Lec, M.F.; Jauregui, R.; Taylor, S.E.; Inwood, S.N.; van Stijn, T.; Henry, H.; Skelly, J.; Ganesh, S.; Ashby, R.L.; Jacobs, J.M.E.; Goldson, S.L.; Dearden, P.K. Genetic Diversity in Invasive Populations of Argentine Stem Weevil Associated with Adaptation to Biocontrol. Insects 2020, 11, 441. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11070441

AMA Style

Harrop TWR, Le Lec MF, Jauregui R, Taylor SE, Inwood SN, van Stijn T, Henry H, Skelly J, Ganesh S, Ashby RL, Jacobs JME, Goldson SL, Dearden PK. Genetic Diversity in Invasive Populations of Argentine Stem Weevil Associated with Adaptation to Biocontrol. Insects. 2020; 11(7):441. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11070441

Chicago/Turabian Style

Harrop, Thomas W.R., Marissa F. Le Lec, Ruy Jauregui, Shannon E. Taylor, Sarah N. Inwood, Tracey van Stijn, Hannah Henry, John Skelly, Siva Ganesh, Rachael L. Ashby, Jeanne M.E. Jacobs, Stephen L. Goldson, and Peter K. Dearden 2020. "Genetic Diversity in Invasive Populations of Argentine Stem Weevil Associated with Adaptation to Biocontrol" Insects 11, no. 7: 441. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11070441

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