Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) fingerprinting was used to examine the genetic variability and biogeography of the most important insect pest of coffee, Coffea arabica L., the coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari). H. hampei samples (n = 101) from 17 countries on three continents were examined. Only 26 unique fingerprints (haplotypes) were discovered among all samples. Genetic variability was extremely low (10% average polymorphism per sample), but genetic differentiation was high (ΦST = 0.464). The distribution of the fingerprints and their genetic relatedness to each other suggested that a West African source population invaded both Asia and America. Three distinct lines entered the Americas through either separate introductions or a single introduction of multiple lines. At least two were first introduced to Brazil and subsequently dispersed throughout the Americas. The third was discovered only in Peru and Colombia. Observations were consistent with the high rate of inbreeding suspected of this pest. With such high inbreeding, undesirable mutations, such as those conferring insecticide resistance, might rapidly become homozygous in H. hampei. However, the low genetic variability observed also suggests that this pest may lack the genetic variability necessary to respond to an intensive control strategy.
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