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Genetic distinctions among the Mediterranean and Chinese populations of Bemisia tabaci Q biotype and their endosymbiont Wolbachia populations

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The sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci, is a cryptic species complex composed of more than 24 different biotypes around the world. The Q biotype of B. tabaci, which is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean Basin, is now a widespread and serious agricultural pest. In this study, the genetic differences among Q biotype populations from Mediterranean countries and China were investigated. Based on their mt COI gene sequences, the Q biotype populations could be divided into two groups, which were labelled as MedBasin 1 and MedBasin 2. MedBasin 1 is indigenous to the western Mediterranean area while MedBasin 2 is indigenous to the eastern Mediterranean area. Genetic variation was greater in the MedBasin 1 populations than in the MedBasin 2 populations. Unlike the introductions into the USA, which involved both Medbasin1 and MedBasin2 populations, all B. tabaci Q biotype populations in China belonged to MedBasin 1. Wolbachia detection in eight representative Q biotype populations from China, Egypt and Syria indicated that all of the populations were infested with Wolbachia, and the infection rate of the Chinese populations (42.5%) were not significantly different from that of Egypt and Syria (51.4%). Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the evolution of the Wolbachia populations was not closely linked with the evolution of their B. tabaci hosts.
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Keywords: Bemisia tabaci; China; Mediterranean; Wolbachia; biotype Q; genetic differentiation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  Department of Entomology, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, China 2:  Horticultural Research Laboratory, Fort Pierce, FL, USA 3:  Department of Plant Protection, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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