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Data from: Population structure and gene flow in the global pest, Helicoverpa armigera

Cite this dataset

Anderson, Craig J. et al. (2016). Data from: Population structure and gene flow in the global pest, Helicoverpa armigera [Dataset]. Dryad.


Helicoverpa armigera is a major agricultural pest that is distributed across Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia. This species is hypothesized to have spread to the Americas 1.5 million years ago, founding a population that is at present, a distinct species, Helicoverpa zea. In 2013, H. armigera was confirmed to have re-entered South America via Brazil and subsequently spread. The source of the recent incursion is unknown and population structure in H. armigera is poorly resolved, but a basic understanding would highlight potential biosecurity failures and determine the recent evolutionary history of region-specific lineages. Here, we integrate several end points derived from high-throughput sequencing to assess gene flow in H. armigera and H. zea from populations across six continents. We first assemble mitochondrial genomes to demonstrate the phylogenetic relationship of H. armigera with other Heliothine species and the lack of distinction between populations. We subsequently use de novo genotyping-by-sequencing and whole-genome sequences aligned to bacterial artificial chromosomes, to assess levels of admixture. Primarily, we find that Brazilian H. armigera are derived from diverse source populations, with strong signals of gene flow from European populations, as well as prevalent signals of Asian and African ancestry. We also demonstrate a potential field-caught hybrid between H. armigera and H. zea, and are able to provide genomic support for the presence of the H. armigera conferta subspecies in Australasia. While structure among the bulk of populations remains unresolved, we present distinctions that are pertinent to future investigations as well as to the biosecurity threat posed by H. armigera.

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