ASU scientist takes part in the international study of gypsy moth

28 May 2019 Department of Information and Media Communications
Roman V. Yakovlev, Professor at the Department of Ecology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Doctor of Biologicy at Altai State University, participated in an international research project to study the gypsy moth, a dangerous forest pest.

Gypsy moth is a butterfly from the family of tussock moth family, one of the most dangerous forest pests in the Northern Hemisphere, which is a quarantine object. Until now, the genetic structure of this species had not been clearly defined, which is an extremely important aspect of understanding the taxonomy of this species. After all, different genetic lines may have different sensitivity to different methods of pest control. Employees from such institutions as Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Ottawa Research and Development Center for Agriculture, Museum Witt Munich, the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, and Altai State University set themselves the task of solving this issue.

Based on the study of several genes of more than one and a half thousand samples of the gypsy moth from hundreds of different geographical locations from Europe, the Caucasus, Siberia, the Middle East, Japan, the countries of Central Asia and North America, unique results were obtained, which showed that the gypsy moth splits into three highly differentiated genetic lines : 1) Transcaucasia; 2) East Asia and Japan; 3) Europe and Central Asia. The results were published in a high-ranking journal included in the first quartile of the Web of Science “Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution” with impact factor 3.29.

Roman V. Yakovlev, who acted as a co-author, commented on the publication of the article entitled “Global phylogeography reveals the origin and the evolutionary history of the gypsy moth (Lepidoptera, Erebidae)”:

“During the research, I was once again convinced that serious scientific results in biology can be obtained mainly in international teams with a well-built partner atmosphere. The data obtained are very different from the modern taxonomic interpretation of the gypsy moth. I hope that our materials will help practicing entomologists with building clearer strategies to control the numbers of this malicious pest. It turns out that the populations that live in the Moscow region, Altai and Mongolia are one thing, and the inhabitants of Khabarovsk and Primorsky Krai are completely different. A completely distant cluster is the genetic line from Iran and the countries of the Transcaucasus.”

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