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Keywords:

  • Bemisia tabaci ;
  • diversity;
  • mtCOI gene;
  • species

Abstract

Bemisia tabaci is one of the most important global agricultural insect pests, being a vector of emerging plant viruses such as begomoviruses and criniviruses that cause serious problems in many countries. Although knowledge of the genetic diversity of B. tabaci populations is important for controlling this pest and understanding viral epidemics, limited information is available on this pest in Brazil. A survey was conducted in different locations of São Paulo and Mato Grosso states, and the phylogenetic relationships of B. tabaci individuals from 43 populations sampled from different hosts were analysed based on partial mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase 1 gene (mtCOI) sequences. According to the recently proposed classification of the B. tabaci complex, which employs the 3.5% mtCOI sequence divergence threshold for species demarcation, most of the specimens collected were found to belong to the Middle East-Asia Minor 1 species, which includes the invasive populations of the commonly known B biotype, within the Africa/Middle East/Asia Minor high-level group. Three specimens collected from Solanun gilo and Ipomoea sp. were grouped together and could be classified in the New World species that includes the commonly known A biotype. However, six specimens collected from Euphorbia heterophylla, Xanthium cavanillesii and Glycine maxima could not be classified into any of the 28 previously proposed species, although according to the 11% mtCOI sequence divergence threshold, they belong to the New World high-level group. These specimens were classified into a new recently proposed species named New World 2 that includes populations from Argentina. Middle East-Asia Minor 1, New World and New World 2 were differentiated by RFLP analysis of the mtCOI gene using TaqI enzyme. Taq I analysis in silico also differentiates these from Mediterranean species, thus making this method a convenient tool to determine population dynamics, especially critical for monitoring the presence of this exotic pest in Brazil.