Navigation Links
Successful genome sequencing of pea aphid is a breakthrough for ecology and agricultural research
Date:2/23/2010

A special issue of Insect Molecular Biology reports the detailed analyses of specific aspects of the genome of the important plant pest, the Pea Aphid. The analyses are based on the publication of the aphid genome sequence in PLoS Biology and is a major step in enhancing our understanding of insect ecology and evolution with important implications for controlling these significant plant pests.

The sequencing of the Pea Aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, genome is a major milestone for insect scientists. To date all insect genomes that have been sequenced have been holometabolus species, such as flies, bees, ants, butterflies and wasps. The Pea Aphid is a member of a group of insects that are more ancient than flies and bees etc. and are closely related to the wingless insects which are thought to have evolved more directly from the first insects. This unique position of the Pea Aphid within the insect tree of life will provide important keys to understanding insect biology and evolution.

"Aphids are economically very important insects as they contain a host of agricultural and forestry pests as well as some medically important species," said Professor Charles Godfrey from the University of Oxford, in the editorial of the special issue. "The pea aphid is, as the name would suggest, a pest of peas and other legumes though does not cause the major economic damage of related species such as the peach-potato aphid."

The Pea Aphid is of particular interest to ecologists as aphid populations can develop to specialise in different food plants. When a population selects a new plant to colonise the association with the plant leads to balanced gene flow which prevents further divergence and speciation to occur in the aphid population. This process of specialisation means the Pea Aphid has become a model organism for evolutionists studying specialisation and ecological speciation with the sequencing of the genome now allowing new testing of speciation theories and models.

The sequencing also allows scientists studying the spread of agricultural diseases to further understand the relationship between a virus, the host insect and the plant. Aphids are also major vectors of viral plant disease, which cause severe economic damage for agriculture. Some viruses have evolved to facilitate their transmission by aphids and the newly published genome sequence will allow scientists to understand the physiological, genetic and molecular basis of this critical interaction. Aphids feed on plant juices which they obtain from the phloem tissue of leaves and stems using long piercing mouthparts. Phloem is rich in carbohydrates, but low in the nitrogenous compounds which complex organisms need to make proteins to survive. Aphids have a highly developed gut and the genome sequence reveals many genes for sugar transporter proteins but oddly are missing common genes involved in making some amino acids. Remarkably, symbiotic bacteria living inside the aphid provide these missing proteins.

One of the most curious findings of this sequencing project is the absence of many genes involved in defending the insect from pathogens, parasites and predators. A large part of the typical insect immune system which is well studied in other insects, is absent from the Pea Aphid. This is surprising as Pea Aphids are attacked by a variety of natural enemies ranging from fungal diseases to parasitoid wasps.

"It is likely that aphids are selected for extremely high rates of reproduction, they have to colonise a plant and produce offspring before their enemies find and exterminate them," said Godfrey. "We know there are tradeoffs between defence and other fitness components and in Aphids natural selection may have favoured reproduction over defence."

"Biologists working on the pea aphid now have a valuable new set of tools to attack novel questions," concludes Godfrey. "Studies on the pea aphid will inform our understanding of aphid biology and of insects more generally, with clear economic benefits at a time of increasing food security."

"At some point, perhaps in the near future, the publication of another insect genome may not warrant special notice, and this, no doubt, will be a reflection of how advanced our technical capabilities as molecular biologists have become," said journal editors David O'Brochta and Lin Field. "Presently, at least for Insect Molecular Biology, a new insect genome remains an exciting and significant event in which we are pleased to play a small role."


'/>"/>

Contact: Ben Norman
Lifesciencenews@wiley.com
44-012-437-70375
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Layered approach may yield stronger, more successful bone implants
2. Life on Mars pregnancy test successfully launched
3. New book presents successful strategies for probing genetic variation
4. A new milestone in the GMES Space Component Program successfully achieved
5. MIT Holding, Georgia Southern University, and MEVLABS successfully test the PROVECTOR
6. Researchers successfully simulate photosynthesis and design a better leaf
7. Study of successful drug targets could hasten development of new medications
8. Priming scientists for successful media interviews
9. Scientists successfully treat new mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease
10. Community-intervention study links successful town makeover focused on boosting calcium and exercise
11. Successful cooperation extends Dragon Program
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/5/2016)...  The Office of Justice Programs, National Institute ... Enhance or Replace Medico Legal Autopsies?" on NIJ.gov.  ... replacing forensic autopsies with postmortem X-ray computed tomography, ... response to recommendations made by The National Academy ... as a potential component of medicolegal death investigations. ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Nov. 30, 2016 Not many of us realize that we spend ? ... so we need to do it well. Inadequate sleep levels have been found to ... stroke, diabetes, and even cancer. Maybe now is the best time to ... help them to manage their sleep quality? Continue Reading ... ...
(Date:11/29/2016)... , Nov. 29, 2016   ... identification and object recognition technologies, today released ... for fingerprint recognition solutions that run on ... fingerprint template using less than 128KB of ... compact devices that have limited on-board resources, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... This CAST literature review and report looks ... authors focus on the economic effects in countries that are major global commodity exporters ... and the resultant risk of low level presence (LLP) puts large volumes of trade ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... SEOUL, South Korea , Dec. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... completed a $21 billion KRW (US $18.9M) Series A ... Management, Kolon Investment, G.N. Tech Venture and SNU Bio ... by Eutilex to 30.5 billion KRW (US $27.7M) since ... will help Eutilex to bolster the development and commercialization ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... NE (PRWEB) , ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... systems integration, today announced that it has become a Wonderware Certified System Integrator ... System Integrator Partner by Schneider Electric Software. , “The System Integrator Partner certification ...
(Date:12/7/2016)...  Biocom, the association for the California ... of 21 st Century Cures legislation in Congress. The ... 392-26 vote and in the Senate on December 7 by ... Joe Panetta , president & CEO of Biocom: ... millions of patients around the world. The measure culminates three ...
Breaking Biology Technology: