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Fruit pest targeted by genomic research
Date:12/4/2013

The spotted wing drosophila, a major pest that targets berries and cherries and other fruits in the United States, Canada and Europe, is itself being targeted, thanks to groundbreaking genome sequencing at the University of California, Davis, and a public-access Web portal hosted at Oregon State University.

The work is expected to accelerate basic and applied research, leading to better monitoring and control strategies for the pest.

Officially published Dec. 1 in the journal G3 (Genes, Genomics, Genetics), the open-access research has been available online for several weeks and drawing global attention.

"To enable basic and applied research of this important pest, Drosophila suzukii, we sequenced the genome to obtain a high-quality reference sequence," said molecular geneticist Joanna Chiu of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. Chiu and Professor David Begun of the UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology led the genomics team of collaborative researchers from four institutions.

The posting of the genome and comparative sequence analysis on the publicly accessible SpottedWingFlyBase Web portal could lead to more species-specific weapons to combat the destructive pest, Chiu said. Scientists are looking at its biology, behavior, food and odor preferences, and pesticide resistance.

"Many researchers are working hard to study the biology of this insect through basic and applied projects, and we hope our efforts in presenting our genomic data in a user-friendly Web portal will democratize the sequence data and help facilitate everyone's research, especially those who do not have expertise in genome and sequence analysis," she said.

The spotted wing drosophila, a native of Asia that was first detected in the United States in 2008, is wreaking economic havoc on crops such as blueberries, cherries, blackberries and raspberries. This fly lays its eggs inside the ripe
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Contact: Kathy Garvey
kegarvey@ucdavis.edu
530-754-6894
University of California - Davis
Source:Eurekalert

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