Whole genome comparisons reveal panmixia among fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) from diverse locations. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: The fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith)) is a highly polyphagous agricultural pest with long-distance migratory behavior threatening food security worldwide. This pest has a host range of >80 plant species, but two host strains are recognized based on their association with corn (C-strain) or rice and smaller grasses (R-strain). The population genomics of the United States (USA) fall armyworm remains poorly characterized to date despite its agricultural threat. RESULTS: In this study, the population structure and genetic diversity in 55S. frugiperda samples from Argentina, Brazil, Kenya, Puerto Rico and USA were surveyed to further our understanding of whole genome nuclear diversity. Comparisons at the genomic level suggest a panmictic S. frugiperda population, with only a minor reduction in gene flow between the two overwintering populations in the continental USA, also corresponding to distinct host strains at the mitochondrial level. Two maternal lines were detected from analysis of mitochondrial genomes. We found members from the Eastern Hemisphere interspersed within both continental USA overwintering subpopulations, suggesting multiple individuals were likely introduced to Africa. CONCLUSIONS: Our research is the largest diverse collection of United States S. frugiperda whole genome sequences characterized to date, covering eight continental states and a USA territory (Puerto Rico). The genomic resources presented provide foundational information to understand gene flow at the whole genome level among S. frugiperda populations. Based on the genomic similarities found between host strains and laboratory vs. field samples, our findings validate the experimental use of laboratory strains and the host strain differentiation based on mitochondria and sex-linked genetic markers extends to minor genome wide differences with some exceptions showing mixture between host strains is likely occurring in field populations.

published proceedings

  • BMC Genomics

altmetric score

  • 50.85

author list (cited authors)

  • Schlum, K. A., Lamour, K., de Bortoli, C. P., Banerjee, R., Meagher, R., Pereira, E., ... Jurat-Fuentes, J. L.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Schlum, Katrina A||Lamour, Kurt||de Bortoli, Caroline Placidi||Banerjee, Rahul||Meagher, Robert||Pereira, Eliseu||Murua, Maria Gabriela||Sword, Gregory A||Tessnow, Ashley E||Viteri Dillon, Diego||Linares Ramirez, Angela M||Akutse, Komivi S||Schmidt-Jeffris, Rebecca||Huang, Fangneng||Reisig, Dominic||Emrich, Scott J||Jurat-Fuentes, Juan Luis

publication date

  • January 2021