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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Conservation genomics of the declining North American bumblebee Bombus terricola reveals inbreeding and selection on immune genes.

The yellow-banded bumblebee Bombus terricola was common in North America but has recently declined and is now on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. The causes of B. terricola’s decline are not well understood. Our objectives were to create a partial genome and then use this to estimate population data of conservation interest, and to determine whether genes showing signs of recent selection suggest a specific cause of decline. First, we generated a draft partial genome (contig set) for B. terricola, sequenced using Pacific Biosciences RS II at an average depth of 35×. Second, we sequenced the individual genomes…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The hpRNA/RNAi pathway is essential to resolve intragenomic conflict in the Drosophila male germline.

Intragenomic conflicts are fueled by rapidly evolving selfish genetic elements, which induce selective pressures to innovate opposing repressive mechanisms. This is patently manifest in sex-ratio (SR) meiotic drive systems, in which distorter and suppressor factors bias and restore equal transmission of X and Y sperm. Here, we reveal that multiple SR suppressors in Drosophila simulans (Nmy and Tmy) encode related hairpin RNAs (hpRNAs), which generate endo-siRNAs that repress the paralogous distorters Dox and MDox. All components in this drive network are recently evolved and largely testis restricted. To connect SR hpRNA function to the RNAi pathway, we generated D. simulans null…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Structural variants exhibit allelic heterogeneity and shape variation in complex traits

Despite extensive effort to reveal the genetic basis of complex phenotypic variation, studies typically explain only a fraction of trait heritability. It has been hypothesized that individually rare hidden structural variants (SVs) could account for a significant fraction of variation in complex traits. To investigate this hypothesis, we assembled 14 Drosophila melanogaster genomes and systematically identified more than 20,000 euchromatic SVs, of which ~40% are invisible to high specificity short read genotyping approaches. SVs are common in Drosophila genes, with almost one third of diploid individuals harboring an SV in genes larger than 5kb, and nearly a quarter harboring multiple…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

A homeobox gene, BarH-1, underlies a female alternative life-history strategy

Colias butterflies (the “clouded sulphurs”) often occur in mixed populations where females exhibit two color morphs, yellow/orange or white. White females, known as the Alba morph, reallocate resources from the synthesis of costly colored pigments to reproductive and somatic development 1. Due to this tradeoff Alba females develop faster and have higher fecundity than orange females 2. However orange females, that have instead invested in pigments, are preferred by males who in turn provide a nutrient rich spermatophore during mating 2,3,4. Thus the wing color morphs represent alternative life history strategies (ALHS) that are female-limited, wherein tradeoffs, due to divergent…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Antiviral adaptive immunity and tolerance in the mosquito Aedes aegyti

Mosquitoes spread pathogenic arboviruses while themselves tolerate infection. We here characterize an immunity pathway providing long-term antiviral protection and define how this pathway discriminates between self and non-self. Mosquitoes use viral RNAs to create viral derived cDNAs (vDNAs) central to the antiviral response. vDNA molecules are acquired through a process of reverse-transcription and recombination directed by endogenous retrotransposons. These vDNAs are thought to integrate in the host genome as endogenous viral elements (EVEs). Sequencing of pre-integrated vDNA revealed that the acquisition process exquisitely distinguishes viral from host RNA, providing one layer of self-nonself discrimination. Importantly, we show EVE-derived piRNAs have…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The sequence of a male-specific genome region containing the sex determination switch in Aedes aegypti.

Aedes aegypti is the principal vector of several important arboviruses. Among the methods of vector control to limit transmission of disease are genetic strategies that involve the release of sterile or genetically modified non-biting males, which has generated interest in manipulating mosquito sex ratios. Sex determination in Ae. aegypti is controlled by a non-recombining Y chromosome-like region called the M locus, yet characterisation of this locus has been thwarted by the repetitive nature of the genome. In 2015, an M locus gene named Nix was identified that displays the qualities of a sex determination switch.With the use of a whole-genome…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Genomic structural variations within five continental populations of Drosophila melanogaster.

Chromosomal structural variations (SV) including insertions, deletions, inversions, and translocations occur within the genome and can have a significant effect on organismal phenotype. Some of these effects are caused by structural variations containing genes. Large structural variations represent a significant amount of the genetic diversity within a population. We used a global sampling of Drosophila melanogaster (Ithaca, Zimbabwe, Beijing, Tasmania, and Netherlands) to represent diverse populations within the species. We used long-read sequencing and optical mapping technologies to identify SVs in these genomes. Among the five lines examined, we found an average of 2,928 structural variants within these genomes. These…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The genomic basis of color pattern polymorphism in the Harlequin ladybird.

Many animal species comprise discrete phenotypic forms. A common example in natural populations of insects is the occurrence of different color patterns, which has motivated a rich body of ecological and genetic research [1-6]. The occurrence of dark, i.e., melanic, forms displaying discrete color patterns is found across multiple taxa, but the underlying genomic basis remains poorly characterized. In numerous ladybird species (Coccinellidae), the spatial arrangement of black and red patches on adult elytra varies wildly within species, forming strikingly different complex color patterns [7, 8]. In the harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis, more than 200 distinct color forms have been described,…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Unexpected patterns of segregation distortion at a selfish supergene in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta.

The Sb supergene in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta determines the form of colony social organization, with colonies whose inhabitants bear the element containing multiple reproductive queens and colonies lacking it containing only a single queen. Several features of this supergene – including suppressed recombination, presence of deleterious mutations, association with a large centromere, and “green-beard” behavior – suggest that it may be a selfish genetic element that engages in transmission ratio distortion (TRD), defined as significant departures in progeny allele frequencies from Mendelian inheritance ratios. We tested this possibility by surveying segregation ratios in embryo progenies of 101 queens…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Density-dependent enhanced replication of a densovirus in Wolbachia-infected Aedes cells is associated with production of piRNAs and higher virus-derived siRNAs.

The endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia pipientis has been shown to restrict a range of RNA viruses in Drosophila melanogaster and transinfected dengue mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Here, we show that Wolbachia infection enhances replication of Aedes albopictus densovirus (AalDNV-1), a single stranded DNA virus, in Aedes cell lines in a density-dependent manner. Analysis of previously produced small RNAs of Aag2 cells showed that Wolbachia-infected cells produced greater absolute abundance of virus-derived short interfering RNAs compared to uninfected cells. Additionally, we found production of virus-derived PIWI-like RNAs (vpiRNA) produced in response to AalDNV-1 infection. Nuclear fractions of Aag2 cells produced a primary vpiRNA…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Evolution of host support for two ancient bacterial symbionts with differentially degraded genomes in a leafhopper host.

Plant sap-feeding insects (Hemiptera) rely on bacterial symbionts for nutrition absent in their diets. These bacteria experience extreme genome reduction and require genetic resources from their hosts, particularly for basic cellular processes other than nutrition synthesis. The host-derived mechanisms that complete these processes have remained poorly understood. It is also unclear how hosts meet the distinct needs of multiple bacterial partners with differentially degraded genomes. To address these questions, we investigated the cell-specific gene-expression patterns in the symbiotic organs of the aster leafhopper (ALF), Macrosteles quadrilineatus (Cicadellidae). ALF harbors two intracellular symbionts that have two of the smallest known bacterial…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Genome of the small hive beetle (Aethina tumida, Coleoptera: Nitidulidae), a worldwide parasite of social bee colonies, provides insights into detoxification and herbivory.

The small hive beetle (Aethina tumida; ATUMI) is an invasive parasite of bee colonies. ATUMI feeds on both fruits and bee nest products, facilitating its spread and increasing its impact on honey bees and other pollinators. We have sequenced and annotated the ATUMI genome, providing the first genomic resources for this species and for the Nitidulidae, a beetle family that is closely related to the extraordinarily species-rich clade of beetles known as the Phytophaga. ATUMI thus provides a contrasting view as a neighbor for one of the most successful known animal groups.We present a robust genome assembly and a gene…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Genetics and genomics of an unusual selfish sex ratio distortion in an insect.

Diverse selfish genetic elements have evolved the ability to manipulate reproduction to increase their transmission, and this can result in highly distorted sex ratios [1]. Indeed, one of the major explanations for why sex determination systems are so dynamic is because they are shaped by ongoing coevolutionary arms races between sex-ratio-distorting elements and the rest of the genome [2]. Here, we use genetic crosses and genome analysis to describe an unusual sex ratio distortion with striking consequences on genome organization in a booklouse species, Liposcelis sp. (Insecta: Psocodea), in which two types of females coexist. Distorter females never produce sons…

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Whole genome sequence of the soybean aphid, Aphis glycines.

Aphids are emerging as model organisms for both basic and applied research. Of the 5,000 estimated species, only three aphids have published whole genome sequences: the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum, the Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia, and the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae. We present the whole genome sequence of a fourth aphid, the soybean aphid (Aphis glycines), which is an extreme specialist and an important invasive pest of soybean (Glycine max). The availability of genomic resources is important to establish effective and sustainable pest control, as well as to expand our understanding of aphid evolution. We generated a 302.9 Mbp…

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Retrotransposons are the major contributors to the expansion of the Drosophila ananassae Muller F element.

The discordance between genome size and the complexity of eukaryotes can partly be attributed to differences in repeat density. The Muller F element (~5.2 Mb) is the smallest chromosome in Drosophila melanogaster, but it is substantially larger (>18.7 Mb) in D. ananassae To identify the major contributors to the expansion of the F element and to assess their impact, we improved the genome sequence and annotated the genes in a 1.4-Mb region of the D. ananassae F element, and a 1.7-Mb region from the D element for comparison. We find that transposons (particularly LTR and LINE retrotransposons) are major contributors…

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