Bulletin of Entomological Research

Research Article

Molecular characterization of whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) populations infesting cassava

I. Abdullahia1a2, S. Wintera2 c1, G.I. Atiria1 and G. Thottappillya3

a1 Department of Crop Protection and Environmental Biology, University of Ibadan Nigeria

a2 Plant Virus Division, Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen, Messeweg 11/12, 38104 Braunschweig, Germany

a3 MAHYCO Research Foundation, Hyderabad, India


Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) populations, collected from cassava and other plants in major cassava-cultivation areas of Sub-saharan Africa and from elsewhere around the world, were studied to determine their biotype status and genetic variation. Random amplified polymorphic DNA–polymerase chain reaction (RAPD–PCR) markers were used to examine the genetic structure of the populations. The dendogram obtained using the neighbour joining method (NJ) split the cassava-associated populations from the non-cassava types with a 100% bootstrap probability. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) of the RAPD fragments revealed that 63.2% of the total variation was attributable to differences among populations, while the differences among groups (host) and within populations accounted for 27.1 and 9.8% respectively. Analysis of the internally transcribed spacer region I (ITS 1) of the ribosomal DNA confirmed that the cassava populations of B. tabaci populations were distinct from non-cassava populations. Experiments to establish whitefly populations on various host plants revealed that cassava-associated populations were restricted to cassava only, whereas B. tabaci from other hosts were polyphagous but did not colonize cassava. Hence, populations of B. tabaci from cassava in Africa represent a distinct group.

(Accepted December 01 2002)


c1 *Fax: +49 (0)531 299 3014 E-mail: S.Winter@BBA.DE