Variation in IPM-Relevant Traits Among Geneticaly Distinct Pest Populations
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Pest populations are not genetically uniform. They vary in genetic composition not only geographically but also due to their host associations.It is known that several pest species are composed by populations that differ in injuriousness strongly suggesting thatgenetically distinct pest populations may differ in several traits relevant to their control.Thus, in order to fully characterize pest susceptibility and resistance to our management strategies, it is important to establish the population genetic structure of pests across their geographic distribution. Highly genetically structured pest populations may interfere with area-wide pest management efforts.Altogether, our results will contribute to developing IPM practices that are fine-tuned to local contexts because they consider the genetic identity of locally-present pest populations. In a broader context, our results will enrich the ongoing understanding for the need to devise IPM strategies tailored to genetically distinct groups within pest species.My proposed HATCH project will assess how genetic variation in several pest species, correlates with several ecological and management relevant traits.We will select pest species affecting Texas and use them as model organisms on which to test our hypotheses. The results from our 5-year project will increase our understanding of how population genetics modulate pest control. Results from this effort will allow us to provide research-based recommendations aimed to improve integrated pest management.Our overall goal is to determine whether genetically distinct pest populations (GDPs) differ in traits relevant to fundamental IPM tactics (i.e., host-plant resistance, chemical control, and biological control). We will use single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to characterize pest populations, and use genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to correlate genetic variation with variation of relevant traits.