leaf beetle (BLB) (Ootheca mutabilis) has emerged as an important bean pest in Uganda, leading to devastating crop losses. There is limited information on the population genetic structure of BLB despite their importance. In this study, novel microsatellite markers and the partial mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (mtCOI) gene sequences were used to analyze the spatial population genetic structure, genetic differentiation, gene flow and haplotype diversity of 87 O. mutabilis samples from five populations. We identified 19,356 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) (mono, di, tri, tetra, penta, and hexa-nucleotides) of which 81 di, tri and tetra-nucleotides were selected for primer synthesis. Five highly polymorphic SSR markers (4-21 alleles, heterozygosi-ty 0.59-0.84, polymorphic information content (PIC) 50.13-83.14%) were used for this study. Analyses of the five O. mutabilis populations with these five novel SSRs found 89% of genetic variation occurring within individuals, 9% among individuals and 2% among populations. Genetic differentiation was low but significant for SSR and insignificant for mtCOI partial sequence data while gene flow was high across the populations. There was no evidence of isolation by distance between geographical and genetic distances. Bayesian clustering identified signature of admixture that suggests genetic contributions from two ancestral genetic lineages, and the median-joining haplotype network showed low differentiation of many different haplotypes from the most common haplotype. Low genetic differentiation and high gene flow indicates unrestricted migrations between populations. This information will contribute to the design of BLB control strategies.
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