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Genetics of wild and mass-reared populations of a generalist aphid parasitoid and improvement of biological control

Abstract : Due to their ability to parasitize various insect species, generalist parasitoids are widely used as biological control agents. They can be mass-reared and released in agroecosystems to control several pest species in various crops. However, the existence of genetic differentiation among populations of generalist parasitoid species is increasingly recognized and this can be associated with an adaptation to local conditions or to a reduced range of host species. Moreover, constraints of mass-rearing conditions can alter genetic variation within parasitoid populations released. These features could be associated with a reduced efficiency of the control of targeted pest species. Here, we focused on strawberry greenhouses where the control of aphids with the generalist parasitoid Aphidius ervi appears to be inefficient. We investigated whether this inefficiency may have both genetic and ecological bases comparing wild and commercial populations of A . ervi . We used two complementary genetic approaches: one based on the mitochondrial marker COI and one based on microsatellite markers. COI analysis showed a genetic differentiation within the A . ervi species, but the structure was neither associated with the commercial/wild status nor with host species factors. On the other hand, using microsatellite markers, we showed a genetic differentiation between commercial and wild A . ervi populations associated with a loss of genetic diversity within the mass-reared populations. Our ecological genetics study may potentially explain the weak efficiency of biological control of aphids in protected strawberry crops and enable to provide some insights to improve biological control.
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Submitted on : Thursday, July 15, 2021 - 3:46:29 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 16, 2021 - 3:38:28 AM

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Estelle Postic, Yannick Outreman, Stéphane Derocles, Caroline Granado, Anne Le Ralec. Genetics of wild and mass-reared populations of a generalist aphid parasitoid and improvement of biological control. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2021, 16 (4), pp.e0249893. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0249893⟩. ⟨hal-03287393⟩

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