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Ecological specialization of the aphid Aphis gossypii Glover on cultivated host plants

Carletto J., Lombaert E., Chavigny P., Brévault T., Lapchin L., Vanlerberghe-Masutti F.. 2009. Molecular Ecology, 18 (10) : p. 2198-2212.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04190.x

Many plant-feeding insect species considered to be polyphagous are in fact composed of genetically differentiated sympatric populations that use different hosts and between which gene flow still exists. We studied the population genetic structure of the cotton-melon aphid Aphis gossypii that is considered as one of the most polyphagous aphid species. We used eight microsatellites to analyse the genetic diversity of numerous samples of A. gossypii collected over several years at a large geographical scale on annual crops from different plant families. The number of multilocus genotypes detected was extremely low and the genotypes were found to be associated with host plants. Five host races were unambiguously identified (Cucurbitaceae, cotton, eggplant, potato and chili- or sweet pepper). These host races were dominated by asexual clones. Plant transfer experiments using several specialized clones further confirmed the existence of host-associated trade-offs. Finally, both genetic and experimental data suggested that plants of the genus Hibiscus may be used as refuge for the specialized clones. Resource abundance is discussed as a key factor involved in the process of ecological specialization in A. gossypii.

Mots-clés : aphis gossypii; plante hôte; plante de culture; génétique des populations; microsatellite; parthénogénèse; relation hôte pathogène; dynamique des populations; variation génétique; cucumis melo; hibiscus; gossypium; france; afrique; guadeloupe; brésil; viet nam

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