PLoS ONE (2019) 14 (6 - e0218993)

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Martin A. Erlandson, Boyd A. Mori, Cathy Coutu, Jennifer Holowachuk, Owen O. Olfert, Tara D. Gariepy and Dwayne D. Hegedus (2019)
Examining population structure of a bertha armyworm, Mamestra configurata (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), outbreak in western North America: Implications for gene flow and dispersal
PLoS ONE 14 (6 - e0218993)
Abstract: The bertha armyworm (BAW), Mamestra configurata, is a significant pest of canola (Brassica napus L. and B. rapa L.) in western North America that undergoes cyclical outbreaks every 6–8 years. During peak outbreaks millions of dollars are spent on insecticidal control and, even with control efforts, subsequent damage can result in losses worth millions of dollars. Despite the importance of this pest insect, information is lacking on the dispersal ability of BAW and the genetic variation of populations from across its geographic range which may underlie potential differences in their susceptibility to insecticides or pathogens. Here, we examined the genetic diversity of BAW populations during an outbreak across its geographic range in western North America. First, mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase 1 (CO1) barcode sequences were used to confirm species identification of insects captured in a network of pheromone traps across the range, followed by haplotype analyses. We then sequenced the BAW genome and used double-digest restriction site associated DNA sequencing, mapped to the genome, to identify 1000s of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) markers. CO1 haplotype analysis identified 9 haplotypes distributed across 28 sample locations and three laboratory-reared colonies. Analysis of genotypic data from both the CO1 and SNP markers revealed little population structure across BAW's vast range. The CO1 haplotype pattern showed a star-like phylogeny which is often associated with species whose population abundance and range has recently expanded and combined with pheromone trap data, indicates the outbreak may have originated from a single focal point in central Saskatchewan. The relatively recent introduction of canola and rapid expansion of the canola growing region across western North America, combined with the cyclical outbreaks of BAW caused by precipitous population crashes, has likely selected for a genetically homogenous BAW population adapted to this crop.
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Full text of article
Database assignments for author(s): Martin A. Erlandson, Owen Olfert, Tara Dawne Gariepy

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
population dynamics/ epidemiology

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Mamestra configurata Rape/canola (Brassica napus) Canada (west)