Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Global population genomic signature of Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm) supports complex introduction events across the old world.

Abstract

Native to the Americas, the invasive Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm; FAW) was reported in West Africa in 2016, followed by its chronological detection across the Old World and the hypothesis of an eastward Asia expansion. We explored population genomic signatures of American and Old World FAW and identified 12 maternal mitochondrial DNA genome lineages across the invasive range. 870 high-quality nuclear single nucleotide polymorphic DNA markers identified five distinct New World population clusters, broadly reflecting FAW native geographical ranges and the absence of host-plant preferences. We identified unique admixed Old World populations, and admixed and non-admixed Asian FAW individuals, all of which suggested multiple introductions underpinning the pest's global spread. Directional gene flow from the East into eastern Africa was also detected, in contrast to the west-to-east spread hypothesis. Our study demonstrated the potential of population genomic approaches via international partnership to address global emerging pest threats and biosecurity challenges.