The pink bollworm Pectinophora gossypiella is an invasive pest insect that has successfully established populations in many cotton growing regions around the world. In this study, the genetic diversity and population structure of Chinese populations of P. gossypiella were evaluated using mitochondrial DNA sequence data (COII and Nad4). For comparison, individuals of Pakistan and America were also sequenced at the same two mtDNA regions. Extremely low genetic variation was observed in the two mitochondrial regions among all populations examined. Most of the populations harbored only one to two haplotypes. Although the Nad4 region showed relatively high haplotype diversity and nucleotide variation, ranging from 0.363 to 0.591 and from 0.00078 to 0.00140, respectively, there were only three haplotypes observed in this region. COII and Nad4 haplotype networks shaved one or two common haplotype (s) forming the center of a star-shaped phylogeny. Pairwise tests showed that most of the populations were not significantly differentiated from each other. The Chinese populations were differentiated from the Pakistani and American populations in the Nad4 region. The low level of population genetic variation of P. gossypiella is attributed to invasion bottlenecks, which may have been subsequently strengthened by its nonmigratory biology and the mosaic pattern of agricultural activities.
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