Microsatellite or simple sequence repeats (SSRs) are useful markers for testing hypotheses related to intraspecific genetic diversity and phylogeographic dispersal patterns of invasive species. Megacopta cribraria (F.), a bean plataspid from Asia, is an invasive insect pest first discovered in the Western Hemisphere in 2009 in 9 counties in northeast Georgia, USA. By the end of 2012, M. cribraria had been confirmed in 392 counties in 8 U.S. states. To study the genetic diversity over time of this dispersing invasive population we developed and characterized the first codominant markers from M. cribraria genomic sequences. Seventeen genomic microsatellite loci in M. cribraria were characterized. These loci were screened in 23 individuals from 11 counties in Georgia, USA, collected in 2009 and 2010, and from 6 individuals from Kanagawa Province in Japan collected in 2010. The number of alleles per locus ranged from 2 - 7, observed heterozygosity ranged from 0.00 - 0.60, and the probability of identity values ranged from 0.12 - 0.92. These new loci will be used to examine the spatial and temporal genetic diversity as well as the genetic structure of M. cribraria as it stochastically disperses and survives transitions into new geographic areas. They also will provide broader insights into how genes and epistatic interactions facilitate adaptive radiations of M. cribraria specifically and exotic insect species in general.
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