Comparative genomics to gain insight into evolution and insecticide resistance in a major agricultural pest complex, the whitefly Bemisia tabaci
The whitefly Bemisia tabaci is one of world’s most damaging crop pest species. Intriguingly, what is considered morphologically to be a single species in fact represents a diverse species complex with its ~40 members differing substantially in their host range, invasiveness, susceptibilities to insecticides, and virus transmission properties. This project aims to understand how this can be by comparative bioinformatics analyses across recently assembled draft genomes of populations differing in biological properties. Our findings will provide major insights assisting control of this invasive pest, as well as address key evolutionary questions regarding the genetics of adaptation and speciation.