Biological invasions in agricultural settings: insights from evolutionary biology and population genetics

C R Biol. 2011 Mar;334(3):237-46. doi: 10.1016/j.crvi.2010.12.008. Epub 2011 Feb 1.


Invasion biology and agriculture are intimately related for several reasons and in particular because many agricultural pest species are recent invaders. In this article we suggest that the reconstruction of invasion routes with population genetics-based methods can address fundamental questions in ecology and practical aspects of the management of biological invasions in agricultural settings. We provide a brief description of the methods used to reconstruct invasion routes and describe their main characteristics. In particular, we focus on a scenario--the bridgehead invasion scenario --which had been overlooked until recently. We show that this scenario, in which an invasive population is the source of other invasive populations, is evolutionarily parsimonious and may have played a crucial role in shaping the distribution of many recent agricultural pests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Biological
  • Agriculture*
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Genetics*
  • Humans
  • Insect Control
  • Insecta
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pest Control, Biological
  • Population
  • Population Dynamics