Myzus persicae (Sulzer) collected in Scotland were characterized for four microsatellite loci, intergenic spacer fingerprints and the resistance mechanisms modified acetylcholinesterase (MACE), overproduced carboxylesterase and knockdown resistance (kdr). Microsatellite polymorphisms were used to define a limited number of clones that were either fully susceptible to insecticides or possessed characteristic combinations of resistance mechanisms. Within these clones, intergenic spacer fingerprints could either be very consistent or variable, with the latter indicating ongoing evolution within lineages, most likely derived from the same zygote. Two clones (termed A and B) possessed all three resistance mechanisms and predominated at sites treated with insecticides. Their appearance on seed potatoes and oilseed rape in Scotland in 2001 coincided with extensive insecticide use and severe control failures. Clones C, I and J, with no or fewer resistance mechanisms, were found in samples from 1995 and were dominant at untreated sites in 2001. A comparison of Scottish collections with those from other UK and non-UK sites provides insight into the likely origins, distribution and dynamics of M. persicae clones in a region where asexual (anholocyclic) reproduction predominates, but is vulnerable to migration by novel genotypes from areas of Europe where sexual (holocyclic) reproduction occurs.