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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Biodiversity seen through the perspective of insects: 10 simple rules on methodological choices and experimental design for genomic studies.

Massively parallel DNA sequencing opens up opportunities for bridging multiple temporal and spatial dimensions in biodiversity research, thanks to its efficiency to recover millions of nucleotide polymorphisms. Here, we identify the current status, discuss the main challenges, and look into future perspectives on biodiversity genomics focusing on insects, which arguably constitute the most diverse and ecologically important group among all animals. We suggest 10 simple rules that provide a succinct step-by-step guide and best-practices to anyone interested in biodiversity research through the study of insect genomics. To this end, we review relevant literature on biodiversity and evolutionary research in the…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Deep repeat resolution-the assembly of the Drosophila Histone Complex.

Though the advent of long-read sequencing technologies has led to a leap in contiguity of de novo genome assemblies, current reference genomes of higher organisms still do not provide unbroken sequences of complete chromosomes. Despite reads in excess of 30 000 base pairs, there are still repetitive structures that cannot be resolved by current state-of-the-art assemblers. The most challenging of these structures are tandemly arrayed repeats, which occur in the genomes of all eukaryotes. Untangling tandem repeat clusters is exceptionally difficult, since the rare differences between repeat copies are obscured by the high error rate of long reads. Solving this…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Maleness-on-the-Y (MoY) orchestrates male sex determination in major agricultural fruit fly pests.

In insects, rapidly evolving primary sex-determining signals are transduced by a conserved regulatory module controlling sexual differentiation. In the agricultural pest Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean fruit fly, or Medfly), we identified a Y-linked gene, Maleness-on-the-Y (MoY), encoding a small protein that is necessary and sufficient for male development. Silencing or disruption of MoY in XY embryos causes feminization, whereas overexpression of MoY in XX embryos induces masculinization. Crosses between transformed XY females and XX males give rise to males and females, indicating that a Y chromosome can be transmitted by XY females. MoY is Y-linked and functionally conserved in other species…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A chromosome-level genome assembly of Cydia pomonella provides insights into chemical ecology and insecticide resistance.

The codling moth Cydia pomonella, a major invasive pest of pome fruit, has spread around the globe in the last half century. We generated a chromosome-level scaffold assembly including the Z chromosome and a portion of the W chromosome. This assembly reveals the duplication of an olfactory receptor gene (OR3), which we demonstrate enhances the ability of C. pomonella to exploit kairomones and pheromones in locating both host plants and mates. Genome-wide association studies contrasting insecticide-resistant and susceptible strains identify hundreds of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) potentially associated with insecticide resistance, including three SNPs found in the promoter of CYP6B2.…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A study of the extraordinarily strong and tough silk produced by bagworms.

Global ecological damage has heightened the demand for silk as ‘a structural material made from sustainable resources’. Scientists have earnestly searched for stronger and tougher silks. Bagworm silk might be a promising candidate considering its superior capacity to dangle a heavy weight, summed up by the weights of the larva and its house. However, detailed mechanical and structural studies on bagworm silks have been lacking. Herein, we show the superior potential of the silk produced by Japan’s largest bagworm, Eumeta variegata. This bagworm silk is extraordinarily strong and tough, and its tensile deformation behaviour is quite elastic. The outstanding mechanical…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Divergent evolutionary trajectories following speciation in two ectoparasitic honey bee mites.

Multispecies host-parasite evolution is common, but how parasites evolve after speciating remains poorly understood. Shared evolutionary history and physiology may propel species along similar evolutionary trajectories whereas pursuing different strategies can reduce competition. We test these scenarios in the economically important association between honey bees and ectoparasitic mites by sequencing the genomes of the sister mite species Varroa destructor and Varroa jacobsoni. These genomes were closely related, with 99.7% sequence identity. Among the 9,628 orthologous genes, 4.8% showed signs of positive selection in at least one species. Divergent selective trajectories were discovered in conserved chemosensory gene families (IGR, SNMP), and…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A high-quality de novo genome assembly from a single mosquito using PacBio sequencing

A high-quality reference genome is a fundamental resource for functional genetics, comparative genomics, and population genomics, and is increasingly important for conservation biology. PacBio Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing generates long reads with uniform coverage and high consensus accuracy, making it a powerful technology for de novo genome assembly. Improvements in throughput and concomitant reductions in cost have made PacBio an attractive core technology for many large genome initiatives, however, relatively high DNA input requirements (~5 µg for standard library protocol) have placed PacBio out of reach for many projects on small organisms that have lower DNA content, or on…

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Identification and expression analysis of chemosensory genes in the citrus fruit fly Bactrocera (Tetradacus) minax

The citrus fruit fly Bactrocera (Tetradacus) minax is a major and devastating agricultural pest in Asian subtropical countries. Previous studies have shown that B. minax interacts with hosts via an efficient chemosensory system. However, knowledge regarding the molecular components of the B. minax chemosensory system has not yet been well established. Herein, based on our newly generated whole-genome dataset for B. minax and by comparison with the characterized genomes of 6 other fruit fly species, we identified, for the first time, a total of 25 putative odorant-binding receptors (OBPs), 4 single-copy chemosensory proteins (CSPs) and 53 candidate odorant receptors (ORs).…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The genome of an underwater architect, the caddisfly Stenopsyche tienmushanensis Hwang (Insecta: Trichoptera).

Caddisflies (Insecta: Trichoptera) are a highly adapted freshwater group of insects split from a common ancestor with Lepidoptera. They are the most diverse (>16,000 species) of the strictly aquatic insect orders and are widely employed as bio-indicators in water quality assessment and monitoring. Among the numerous adaptations to aquatic habitats, caddisfly larvae use silk and materials from the environment (e.g., stones, sticks, leaf matter) to build composite structures such as fixed retreats and portable cases. Understanding how caddisflies have adapted to aquatic habitats will help explain the evolution and subsequent diversification of the group.We sequenced a retreat-builder caddisfly Stenopsyche tienmushanensis…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Differential expression analysis of olfactory genes based on a combination of sequencing platforms and behavioral investigations in Aphidius gifuensis.

Aphidius gifuensis Ashmead is a dominant endoparasitoid of aphids, such as Myzus persicae and Sitobion avenae, and plays an important role in controlling aphids in various habitats, including tobacco plants and wheat in China. A. gifuensis has been successfully applied for the biological control of aphids, especially M. persicae, in green houses and fields in China. The corresponding parasites, as well as its mate-searching behaviors, are subjects of considerable interest. Previous A. gifuensis transcriptome studies have relied on short-read next-generation sequencing (NGS), and the vast majority of the resulting isotigs do not represent full-length cDNA. Here, we employed a combination…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The industrial melanism mutation in British peppered moths is a transposable element.

Discovering the mutational events that fuel adaptation to environmental change remains an important challenge for evolutionary biology. The classroom example of a visible evolutionary response is industrial melanism in the peppered moth (Biston betularia): the replacement, during the Industrial Revolution, of the common pale typica form by a previously unknown black (carbonaria) form, driven by the interaction between bird predation and coal pollution. The carbonaria locus has been coarsely localized to a 200-kilobase region, but the specific identity and nature of the sequence difference controlling the carbonaria-typica polymorphism, and the gene it influences, are unknown. Here we show that the…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Long-read based assembly and annotation of a Drosophila simulans genome

Long-read sequencing technologies enable high-quality, contiguous genome assemblies. Here we used SMRT sequencing to assemble the genome of a Drosophila simulans strain originating from Madagascar, the ancestral range of the species. We generated 8 Gb of raw data (~50x coverage) with a mean read length of 6,410 bp, a NR50 of 9,125 bp and the longest subread at 49 kb. We benchmarked six different assemblers and merged the best two assemblies from Canu and Falcon. Our final assembly was 127.41 Mb with a N50 of 5.38 Mb and 305 contigs. We anchored more than 4 Mb of novel sequence to…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Comprehensive transcriptome analysis of Sarcophaga peregrina, a forensically important fly species.

Sarcophaga peregrina (flesh fly) is a frequently found fly species in Palaearctic, Oriental, and Australasian regions that can be used to estimate minimal postmortem intervals important for forensic investigations. Despite its forensic importance, the genome information of S. peregrina has not been fully described. Therefore, we generated a comprehensive gene expression dataset using RNA sequencing and carried out de novo assembly to characterize the S. peregrina transcriptome. We obtained precise sequence information for RNA transcripts using two different methods. Based on primary sequence information, we identified sets of assembled unigenes and predicted coding sequences. Functional annotation of the aligned unigenes…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Draft genome assembly of the poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae.

The poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae, is a major worldwide concern in the egg-laying industry. Here, we report the first draft genome assembly and gene prediction of Dermanyssus gallinae, based on combined PacBio and MinION long-read de novo sequencing. The ~959-Mb genome is predicted to encode 14,608 protein-coding genes.

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Contemporary evolution of a Lepidopteran species, Heliothis virescens, in response to modern agricultural practices.

Adaptation to human-induced environmental change has the potential to profoundly influence the genomic architecture of affected species. This is particularly true in agricultural ecosystems, where anthropogenic selection pressure is strong. Heliothis virescens primarily feeds on cotton in its larval stages, and US populations have been declining since the widespread planting of transgenic cotton, which endogenously expresses proteins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). No physiological adaptation to Bt toxin has been found in the field, so adaptation in this altered environment could involve (i) shifts in host plant selection mechanisms to avoid cotton, (ii) changes in detoxification mechanisms required for cotton-feeding…

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