Inference of the worldwide invasion routes of the pinewood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, using ABC analysis on microsatellite data

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Sophie MallezThomas Guillemaud


Population genetics have been greatly beneficial to improve knowledge about biological invasions. Quantitative genetic methods, such as Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC), have brought this improvement up a notch and are now essential tools to decipher the invasion routes of any invasive species. In this paper, we performed ABC analyses to shed light on the pinewood nematode (PWN) worldwide invasion routes and identify the source of the European populations. Originating from North America, this microscopic worm has been invading Asia since 1905 and Europe since 1999, causing tremendous damage on pine forests. Using microsatellite data, we demonstrated the existence of multiple independent events of introduction in Japan (one from the USA and one with an unknown origin) and China (one from the USA and one from Japan). We also found an American origin of the Portuguese samples. Although, we observed some discrepancies between traditional genetic methods and the ABC method, which are worth investigating and are discussed here, the ABC approach definitely helped clarify the worldwide history of the PWN invasion.

Related Concepts

Bursaphelenchus xylophilus
Population Group
Computed (Procedure)
Genetic Population Study
Short Tandem Repeat
Cell Invasion

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