• genetic structure;
  • microsatellites;
  • null allele;
  • Lepidoptera;
  • Gelechiidae;
  • cotton;
  • source population;
  • invasion genetics


The pink bollworm, Pectinophora gossypiella (Saunders) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae), a cotton pest probably native to Indo-Pakistan, invaded China at the beginning of the 20th century. Chinese P. gossypiella have been assumed to be the result of indiscriminate introductions from Pakistan and America by transport of cotton seed. We tested this long-held hypothesis and genotyped a total of 527 individuals from 14 sites at 13 microsatellite loci. We analyzed these data with traditional statistics as well as with Bayesian methods. The loci were, for the most part, highly polymorphic. The allelic richness of Chinese populations at six loci was greater than those of the Pakistani and American populations. Significant deficits of heterozygotes were recorded for all 14 populations, and null alleles were the most probable factor contributing to these deficits. Pairwise FST estimates showed that there was significant differentiation among the pooled Chinese, Pakistani, and American populations, and there was structure within most of the Chinese populations. The Bayesian analysis revealed that the combined Chinese, American, and Pakistani populations formed separate clusters, and the nine Chinese populations were divided into two clusters. Allelic frequency distributions showed that private and shared alleles within Chinese P. gossypiella were derived only partly from the Pakistani and American populations. The microsatellite-based genetic analyses suggested that the Chinese P. gossypiella populations originated from multiple sources.