Genetic diversification and evolution of host usage in an invasive mite

An article co-authored by Anna Skoracka, Lechosław Kuczyński, Agnieszka Majer and Wiktoria Szydło, about the genetic structure within species complex of phytophagous mite, Aceria tosichella, was published in BMC Evolutionary Biology.

Mites belonging to the complex Aceria tosichella (wheat curl mite, WCM) are major pests of the world’s grain industry and our aim was to identify the factors behind its extensive diversification. We demonstrated unusually deep lineage diversification within the taxon. Using time-calibrated phylogenetic reconstruction we showed that lineage diversification pre-dates the influence of agricultural practices, and lineages started to radiate in the mid‑Miocene when major radiation of C4 grasses is known to have occurred. Furthermore, we showed that host generalization coincided with the expansion of the world’s grasslands in Pliocene. The genetic structure and evolutionary history of WCM lineages indicate their great colonization potential.

The study was done in cooperation with the University of Lisbon (Portugal) and University of Deakin (Australia).

More info:

Skoracka A., Lopes L. F., Alves M. J., Miller A., Lewandowski M., Szydło W., Majer A., Różańska E. i Kuczyński L. 2018. Genetics of lineage diversification and the evolution of host usage in the economically important wheat curl mite, Aceria tosichella Keifer, 1969. BMC Evolutionary Biology 18: 122, doi.org/10.1186/s12862-018-1234-x

New publications about mites transferring plant viruses

Review papers, co-authored by Anna Skoracka, about relationships between the mite Aceria tosichella, its main host: wheat, and the viruses that the mite transmits were published in Molecular Plant Pathology and Frontiers in Plant Science

The mite Aceria tosichella (wheat curl mite, WCM) in the interaction with the virus causes considerable yield losses worldwide. The challenge of effectively managing this pest-virus complex is exacerbated by the existence of divergent WCM lineages that differ in host colonization and virus transmission abilities. In these publications, there is highlighted research progress in mite ecology and virus epidemiology that affects management and development of cereal cultivars with WCM- and virus-resistance genes. The potential application of molecular methods (e.g., transcriptomics, epigenetics, and whole-genome sequencing) are proposed to understand the chemical and cellular interface between the wheat plant and WCM-viruses complexes.

The publications were prepared in cooperation with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA and Crop Research Institute, Czech Republic.

More info:

Skoracka A., Rector B. G., Hein G., L. 2018. The interface between wheat and the wheat curl mite, Aceria tosichella, the primary vector of globally important viral diseases. Frontiers in Plant Science 9 (1098), 1-8; DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2018.01098

Singh K., Wegulo S. N., Skoracka A., Kundu J. K. Wheat streak mosaic virus: a century-old virus with rising importance worldwide. Molecular Plant Pathology 19(9): 2193-2206; DOI: 10.1111/mpp.12683