Scaphoideus titanus, a leafhopper native to North America and invasive in Europe, is the vector of the Flavescence dorée phytoplasma, the causal agent of the most important form of grapevine yellows in European vineyards. We studied 10 polymorphic microsatellite loci and a 623 bp fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase II gene in native S. titanus from north-eastern America and introduced European populations, to elucidate the colonization scenario. Consistent with their recent history, invasive European populations were less genetically diverse than American populations for both types of markers, suggesting a recent bottleneck. Significant isolation by distance was detected between American populations but not between European populations. None of the European mitochondrial haplotypes was found in the American vineyards, from which they are assumed to have originated. The precise source of the invasive S. titanus populations therefore remains unclear. Nevertheless, the high heterozygosity of North-East American populations (which contained 92% of the observed alleles) suggests that this region is part of the native range of S. titanus. Clustering population genetics analyses with microsatellite and mitochondrial data suggested that European populations originated from a single introduction event. Most of the introduced populations clustered with populations from Long Island, the Atlantic Coast winegrowing region in whichVitis aestivalis occurs.
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