Novel Mito‐Nuclear Combinations Facilitate the Global Invasion of a Major Agricultural Crop Pest

Li, Hongran and Liang, Xinyue and Peng, Yan and Liu, Zhenxing and Zhang, Lei and Wang, Ping and Jin, Minghui and Wilson, Kenneth and Garvin, Michael R. and Wu, Kongming and Xiao, Yutao (2024) Novel Mito‐Nuclear Combinations Facilitate the Global Invasion of a Major Agricultural Crop Pest. Advanced Science. ISSN 2198-3844

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A fundamental understanding of the underlying mechanisms involved in biological invasions is crucial to developing effective risk assessment and control measures against invasive species. The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, is a highly invasive pest that has rapidly spread from its native Americas into much of the Eastern Hemisphere, with a highly homogeneous nuclear genetic background. However, the exact mechanism behind its rapid introduction and propagation remains unclear. Here, a systematic investigation is conducted into the population dynamics of FAW in China from 2019 to 2021 and found that FAW individuals carrying “rice” mitochondria (FAW‐mR) are more prevalent (>98%) than that with “corn” mitochondria (FAW‐mC) at the initial stage of the invasion and in newly‐occupied non‐overwintering areas. Further fitness experiments show that the two hybrid‐strains of FAW exhibit different adaptions in the new environment in China, and this may have been facilitated by amino acid changes in mitochondrial‐encoded proteins. FAW‐mR used increases energy metabolism, faster wing‐beat frequencies, and lower wing loadings to drive greater flight performance and subsequent rapid colonization of new habitats. In contrast, FAW‐mC individuals adapt with more relaxed mitochondria and shuttle energetics into maternal investment, observed as faster development rate and higher fecundity. The presence of two different mitochondria types within FAW has the potential to significantly expand the range of damage and enhance competitive advantage. Overall, the study describes a novel invasion mechanism displayed by the FAW population that facilitates its expansion and establishment in new environments.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Advanced Science
?? genetic compositionenergy metabolismspodoptera frugiperdamitochondriaflight performance ??
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09 Jul 2024 09:30
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 01:23