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Journal Articles Scientific Reports Year : 2023

Complex multiple introductions drive fall armyworm invasions into Asia and Australia

Pauline Lenancker
Andrew Gock
Thi Hang Dao
Van Liem Nguyen
Thein Nyunt Khin
Divina Amalin
Khonesavanh Chittarath
Muhammad Faheem
Sivapragasam Annamalai
Sathis Sri Thanarajoo
Y. Andi Trisyono
Juil Kim
Kevin Powell
Andrew Kalyebi
Karl H J Gordon


The fall armyworm (FAW) Spodoptera frugiperda is thought to have undergone a rapid 'west-toeast' spread since 2016 when it was first identified in western Africa. Between 2018 and 2020, it was recorded from South Asia (SA), Southeast Asia (SEA), East Asia (EA), and Pacific/Australia (PA). Population genomic analyses enabled the understanding of pathways, population sources, and gene flow in this notorious agricultural pest species. Using neutral single nucleotide polymorphic (SNP) DNA markers, we detected genome introgression that suggested most populations in this study were overwhelmingly C-and R-strain hybrids (n = 252/262). SNP and mitochondrial DNA markers identified multiple introductions that were most parsimoniously explained by anthropogenic-assisted spread, i.e., associated with international trade of live/fresh plants and plant products, and involved 'bridgehead populations' in countries to enable successful pest establishment in neighbouring countries. Distinct population genomic signatures between Myanmar and China do not support the 'African origin spread' nor the 'Myanmar source population to China' hypotheses. Significant genetic differentiation between populations from different Australian states supported multiple pathways involving distinct SEA populations. Our study identified Asia as a biosecurity hotspot and a FAW genetic melting pot, and demonstrated the use of genome analysis to disentangle preventable human-assisted pest introductions from unpreventable natural pest spread. Movements of exotic arthropods are increasingly being linked with global agricultural and horticultural trade 1-6 , Europhyte 2018), tourism (e.g., 7), and as hitchhiker pests on aircraft 8 and vessels (e.g., 9). These exotic arthropods can have significant negative impact on agricultural production 10-13 , and the environments (e.g., 2,14). Good phytosanitary practice together with robust biosecurity preparedness can lower the risk and help mitigate the effects of these invasive species. Invasive arthropods, especially species of agricultural importance, may also introduce novel genotypes (e.g., insecticide resistance genes and alleles; 15-17) into related native populations through introgression and hybridisation, or into established populations of invasive species, thereby increasing their genomic diversity and further complicating pest management (e.g., 15,18). The fall armyworm (FAW; Spodoptera frugiperda), a highly polyphagous noctuid moth native to the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, was officially reported in Western Africa in early 2016 19 , followed
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Dates and versions

hal-04092717 , version 1 (09-05-2023)





Rahul Rane, Thomas K Walsh, Pauline Lenancker, Andrew Gock, Thi Hang Dao, et al.. Complex multiple introductions drive fall armyworm invasions into Asia and Australia. Scientific Reports, 2023, 13 (1), pp.660. ⟨10.1038/s41598-023-27501-x⟩. ⟨hal-04092717⟩
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