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Living in a jar: genetic variation and differentiation among laboratory strains of the red flour beetle

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Malgorzata Lagisz, Dr Gordon Port, Dr Kirsten Wolff


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The red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, is a common pest, which has become an important model study organism, especially in genetic, ecological and evolutionary research. Although almost all studies on this species have been conducted using established laboratory strains, very little is known about the loss of genetic diversity within the strains and genetic divergence between different laboratory stocks. In this study, five long-term laboratory strains and one wild strain were examined for genetic variation at 12 microsatellite loci, which were designed using publicly available sequences. One of the laboratory strains is resistant to phosphine and one to organophosphorous insecticides. All strains had significant amounts of molecular variation, but genetic diversity in the laboratory strains was lower than in the wild-derived strain used as control. We observed significant molecular divergence among the strains, however, the relationship between them reflected resistance status rather than geographic origins. We found no evidence for recent bottlenecks, but the wild-derived population showed signs of demographic expansion. A novel multivariate method, multiple co-inertia analysis, revealed that the two loci contributing most to the divergence between the resistant strains were located on the eighth chromosome, near genes associated with insecticide resistance.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lagisz M, Port G, Wolff K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Applied Entomology

Year: 2011

Volume: 135

Issue: 9

Pages: 682-692

Print publication date: 29/11/2010

ISSN (print): 0931-2048

ISSN (electronic): 1439-0418

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Verlag GmbH


DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0418.2010.01593.x


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Funder referenceFunder name
MEIF-CT-2005-024701European Union