University of Oulu

D’Ercole J, Vila R, Dapporto L, Pentinsaari M, Talavera G, Dincă V and Hebert PDN (2023) Molecular evolution in introduced insect species—a mitochondrial perspective. Front. Ecol. Evol. 11:1218690. doi:

Molecular evolution in introduced insect species : a mitochondrial perspective

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Author: D’Ercole, Jacopo1,2; Vila, Roger3; Dapporto, Leonardo4;
Organizations: 1Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, Guelph, ON, Canada
2Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada
3Institut de Biologia Evolutiva, CSIC—University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain
4Department of Biology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
5Institut Botànic de Barcelona, CSIC—Ajuntament de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
6Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Frontiers Media, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-08-18


Introduced species provide the opportunity to study evolutionary change on short time scales—a key first step to understand and manage the ecosystem-level impact of invasions. This study examined mitochondrial DNA sequence variation in cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) for 26 insect species—Coleoptera (9), Hymenoptera (9), and Lepidoptera (8)—introduced to the Nearctic from the Palearctic. A total of 6,302 barcode records were retrieved from BOLD ( to compare sequence diversity between the native and introduced range. As expected, genetic variation averaged nearly an order of magnitude lower in introduced populations (2.19 × 10⁻⁵ substitutions per nucleotide) than in the native range (1.48 ×10⁻⁴ substitutions per nucleotide). Nonsynonymous and synonymous changes had a similar incidence in the introduced populations (p-value = 0.83, averaging respectively 1.08 × 10⁻⁵ and 1.11 × 10⁻⁵ substitutions). By contrast, nonsynonymous changes were ten-fold less frequent than synonymous changes in the native populations (p-value < 0.001, averaging 1.74 × 10⁻⁵ and 1.3 × 10⁻⁴ substitutions, respectively). Patterns of sequence variation in the introduced range were largely congruent across the three insect orders which suggests that they are produced by general processes. This study explores the molecular evolution of introduced species, a fundamental aspect to improve understanding of their biology and manage their impact on ecosystems.

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Series: Frontiers in ecology and evolution
ISSN: 2296-701X
ISSN-E: 2296-701X
ISSN-L: 2296-701X
Volume: 11
Article number: 1218690
DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2023.1218690
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This work was supported by a NSERC Discovery grant to PDNH. RV was supported by project PID2019- 107078GB- I00/MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033. VD was supported by the Academy of Finland (Academy Research Fellow, decisions 328895 and 352652).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 328895
Detailed Information: 328895 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
352652 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2023 D’Ercole, Vila, Dapporto, Pentinsaari, Talavera, Dincă and Hebert. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.