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ANTHROPOGENIC EFFECTS ON POPULATION GENETICS OF PHYTOPHAGOUS INSECTS ASSOCIATED WITH DOMESTICATED PLANTS

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Abstract

The hypothesis of isolation by distance (IBD) predicts that genetic differentiation between populations increases with geographic distance. However, gene flow is governed by numerous factors and the correlation between genetic differentiation and geographic distance is never simply linear. In this study, we analyze the interaction between the effects of geographic distance and of wild or domesticated status of the host plant on genetic differentiation in the bean beetle Acanthoscelides obvelatus. Geographic distance explained most of the among-population genetic differentiation. However, IBD varied depending on the kind of population pairs for which the correlation between genetic differentiation and geographic distance was examined. Whereas pairs of beetle populations associated with wild beans showed significant IBD (P < 10−4), no IBD was found when pairs of beetle populations on domesticated beans were examined (P= 0.2992). This latter result can be explained by long-distance migrations of beetles on domesticated plants resulting from human exchanges of bean seeds. Beetle populations associated with wild beans were also significantly more likely than those on domesticated plants to contain rare alleles. However, at the population level, beetles on cultivated beans were similar in allelic richness to those on wild beans. This similarity in allelic richness combined with differences in other aspects of the genetic diversity (i.e., IBD, allelic diversity) is compatible with strongly contrasting effects of migration and drift. This novel indirect effect of human actions on gene flow of a serious pest of a domesticated plant has important implications for the spread of new adaptations such as resistance to pesticides.

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