Global genetic differentiation in a cosmopolitan pest of stored beans: effects of geography, host-plant usage and anthropogenic factors

PLoS One. 2014 Sep 2;9(9):e106268. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106268. eCollection 2014.


Genetic differentiation can be promoted allopatrically by geographic isolation of populations due to limited dispersal ability and diversification over time or sympatrically through, for example, host-race formation. In crop pests, the trading of crops across the world can lead to intermixing of genetically distinct pest populations. However, our understanding of the importance of allopatric and sympatric genetic differentiation in the face of anthropogenic genetic intermixing is limited. Here, we examined global sequence variation in two mitochondrial and one nuclear genes in the seed beetle Callosobruchus maculatus that uses different legumes as hosts. We analyzed 180 samples from 42 populations of this stored bean pest from tropical and subtropical continents and archipelagos: Africa, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, Oceania and South America. For the mitochondrial genes, there was weak but significant genetic differentiation across continents/archipelagos. Further, we found pronounced differentiation among subregions within continents/archipelagos both globally and within Africa but not within Asia. We suggest that multiple introductions into Asia and subsequent intermixing within Asia have generated this pattern. The isolation by distance hypothesis was supported globally (with or without continents controlled) but not when host species was restricted to cowpeas Vigna unguiculata, the ancestral host of C. maculatus. We also document significant among-host differentiation both globally and within Asia, but not within Africa. We failed to reject a scenario of a constant population size in the recent past combined with selective neutrality for the mitochondrial genes. We conclude that mitochondrial DNA differentiation is primarily due to geographic isolation within Africa and to multiple invasions by different alleles, followed by host shifts, within Asia. The weak inter-continental differentiation is most likely due to frequent inter-continental gene flow mediated by human crop trade.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Coleoptera / genetics*
  • Demography
  • Fabaceae / parasitology*
  • Genes, Mitochondrial
  • Genetics, Population
  • Geography*
  • Haplotypes / genetics
  • Host-Parasite Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny

Associated data

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  • GENBANK/JX297381
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