Recent research on the wheat curl mite species complex has revealed extensive genetic diversity that has distinguished several genetic lineages infesting bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and other cereals worldwide. Turkey is the historical region of wheat and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) domestication and diversification. The close relationship between these grasses and the wheat curl mite provoked the question of the genetic diversity of the wheat curl mite in this region. The scope of the study was to investigate genetic differentiation within the wheat curl mite species complex on grasses in Turkey. Twenty-one wheat curl mite populations from 16 grass species from nine genera (Agropyron sp., Aegilops sp., Bromus sp., Elymus sp., Eremopyrum sp., Hordeum sp., Poa sp., Secale sp., and Triticum sp.) were sampled in eastern and southeastern Turkey for genetic analyses. Two molecular markers were amplified: the cytochrome oxidase subunit I coding region of mtDNA (COI) and the D2 region of 28S rDNA. Phylogenetic analyses revealed high genetic variation of the wheat curl mite in Turkey, primarily on Bromus and Hordeum spp., and exceptionally high diversity of populations associated with bread wheat. Three wheat-infesting wheat curl mite lineages known to occur on other continents of the world, including North and South America, Australia and Europe, were found in Turkey, and at least two new genetic lineages were discovered. These regions of Turkey exhibit rich wheat curl mite diversity on native grass species. The possible implications for further studies on the wheat curl mite are discussed.
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Vol. 108 • No. 4