Nuclear and cytoplasmic differentiation among Mediterranean populations of Bemisia tabaci: testing the biological relevance of cytotypes
The taxonomy of the species complex Bemisia tabaci is still an unresolved issue. Recently, phylogenetic analysis based on mtCOI identified 31 cryptic species. However, mitochondrial diversity is observed within these species, associated with distinct symbiotic bacterial communities forming associations, which here are called cytotypes. The authors investigated the biological significance of two cytotypes (Q1 and Q2) belonging to the Mediterranean species, which have only been found in allopatry in the Western Mediterranean to date. Sampling was done over a few years in Western Europe, and sympatric situations were found that allowed their reproductive compatibility to be tested in the field with the use of microsatellites.
The field survey indicated that, in spite of its recent introduction, Q2 is well established in France and Spain, where it coexists with Q1. Microsatellite data showed that, in allopatry, Q1 and Q2 are highly differentiated, while there is little or no genetic differentiation when they coexist in sympatry, suggesting a high rate of hybridisation. Crossing experiments in the lab confirmed their interfertility.
Q1 and Q2 hybridise, which confirms that they belong to the same species, in spite of the high degree of genetic differentiation at both the cytoplasmic and nuclear levels, and also suggests that their symbiotic bacteria do not prevent hybridisation. © 2014 Society of Chemical Industry