Molecular differentiation at nuclear loci in French host races of the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis)

Thibaut Malausa*, Laurianne Leniaud, Jean Francxois Martin, Philippe Audiot, Denis Bourguet, Sergine Ponsard, Siu Fai Lee, Richard G. Harrison, Erik Dopman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


French populations of the European corn borer consist of two sympatric and genetically differentiated host races. As such, they are well suited to study processes that could be involved in sympatric speciation, but the initial conditions of host-race divergence need to be elucidated. Gene genealogies can provide insight into the processes involved in speciation. We used DNA sequences of four nuclear genes to (1) document the genetic structure of the two French host races previously delineated with allozyme markers, (2) find genes directly or indirectly involved in reproductive isolation between host races, and (3) estimate the time since divergence of the two taxa and see whether this estimate is compatible with this divergence being the result of a host shift onto maize after its introduction into Europe ∼500 years ago. Gene genealogies revealed extensive shared polymorphism, but confirmed the previously observed genetic differentiation between the two host races. Significant departures from the predictions of neutral molecular evolution models were detected at three loci but were apparently unrelated to reproductive isolation between host races. Estimates of time since divergence between French host races varied from ∼75,000 to ∼150,000 years, suggesting that the two taxa diverged recently but probably long before the introduction of maize into Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2343-2355
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular differentiation at nuclear loci in French host races of the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this