The pink bollworm (Pectinophora gossypiella) is one of the world’s most destructive pests of cotton. This invasive lepidopteran occurs in nearly all cotton-growing countries. Its presence in the Ord Valley of North West Australia poses a potential threat to the expanding cotton industry there. To assess this threat and better understand population structure of pink bollworm, we analysed genomic data from individuals collected in the field from North West Australia, India, and Pakistan, as well as from four laboratory colonies that originated in the United States. We identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) using a reduced-representation, genotyping-by-sequencing technique (DArTseq). The final filtered dataset included 6355 SNPs and 88 individual genomes that clustered into five groups: Australia, India-Pakistan, and three groups from the United States. We also analysed sequences from Genbank for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) locus cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) for pink bollworm from six countries. We found low genetic diversity within populations and high differentiation between populations from different continents. The high genetic differentiation between Australia and the other populations and colonies sampled in this study reduces concerns about gene flow to North West Australia, particularly from populations in India and Pakistan that have evolved resistance to transgenic insecticidal cotton. We attribute the observed population structure to pink bollworm’s narrow host plant range and limited dispersal between continents.
ASJC Scopus subject areas