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Parasitic wasps' newly sequenced genomes reveal new avenues for pest control
Date:1/15/2010

ch other," says John H. Werren from the University of Rochester, who led the project together with Stephen Richards from the Genome Sequencing Centre at the Baylor College of Medicine.

Unlike fruit flies, these wasps also modify their DNA in ways similar to humans and other vertebrates, a process called "methylation" which plays an important role in regulating how genes are turned on and off during development. "Importantly", says Zdobnov, "our comparative analyses discovered hundreds of Nasonia genes that are shared with humans but absent from fruit flies, opening new avenues for their functional investigation in these genetically tractable wasps". "We identified changes to metabolic pathways that may reflect the amino-acid rich carnivorous diet of these parasitoids. Such information could support efforts to produce artificial diets for parasitoid wasp mass rearing in biological control and improve hymenopteran cell culture methods".

Emerging from these genome studies are many opportunities for exploiting Nasonia wasps in topics ranging from pest control to medicine, genetics, and evolution. "Insects are the most diverse group of terrestrial animals", says Zdobnov, "and the sequencing of the wasp genome significantly augments the opportunities for scientists to examine the genetic basis of this incredible diversity that underlies their success".


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Contact: Irene Perovsek
irene.perovsek@isb-sib.ch
Swiss Institute of Bioinoformatics
Source:Eurekalert

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