Whole genome sequencing of Asia II 1 species of whitefly reveals that genes involved in virus transmission and insecticide resistance have genetic variances between Asia II 1 and MEAM1 species.
Background: Whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci) are phloem sap-sucking pests that because of their broad host range and ability to transmit viruses damage crop plants worldwide. B. tabaci are now known to be a complex of cryptic species that differ from each other in many characteristics such as mode of interaction with viruses, invasiveness, and resistance to insecticides. Asia II 1 is an indigenous species found on the Indian sub-continent and south-east Asia while the species named as Middle East Asia Minor 1 (MEAM1), likely originated from the Middle-East and has spread worldwide in recent decades. The purpose of this study is to find genomic differences between these two species. Results: Sequencing of the nuclear genome of Asia II 1 with Illumina HiSeq and MiSeq generated 198.90 million reads that covers 88% of the reference genome. The sequence comparison with MEAM1 identified 2,327,972 SNPs and 202,479 INDELs. In Total, 1294 genes were detected with high impact variants. The functional analysis revealed that some of the genes are involved in virus transmission including 4 genes in Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) transmission, 96 in Tomato crinivirus (ToCV) transmission, and 14 genes in insecticide resistance. Conclusions: These genetic differences between Asia II 1 and MEAM1 may underlie the major biological differences between the two species such as virus transmission, insecticide resistance, and range of host plants. The present study provides new genomic data and information resources for Asia II 1 that will not only contribute to the species delimitation of whitefly, but also help in conceiving future research studies to develop more targeted management strategies against whitefly.