Optimizing sample size for population genomic study in a global invasive lady beetle, harmonia axyridis

Hongran Li, Wanmei Qu, John J. Obrycki, Ling Meng, Xuguo Zhou, Dong Chu, Baoping Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Finding optimal sample sizes is critical for the accurate estimation of genetic diversity of large invasive populations. Based on previous studies, we hypothesized that a minimal sample size of 3–8 individuals is sufficient to dissect the population architecture of the harlequin lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis, a biological control agent and an invasive alien species. Here, equipped with a type IIB endonuclease restriction site-associated (2b-RAD) DNA sequencing approach, we identified 13,766 and 13,929 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), respectively, among native and invasive H. axyridis populations. With this information we simulated populations using a randomly selected 3000 SNPs and a subset of individuals. From this simulation we finally determined that six individuals is the minimum sample size required for the accurate estimation of intra-and inter-population genetic diversity within and across H. axyridis populations. Our findings provide an empirical advantage for population genomic studies of H. axyridis in particular and suggest useful tactics for similar studies on multicellular organisms in general.

Original languageEnglish
Article number290
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors.


  • 2b-RAD
  • Empirical investigation
  • Genetic diversity
  • Harmonia axyridis
  • Population genomics
  • Sample size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science


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