The pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) is an insect which causes hundreds of millions of dollars of crop damage each year. The pea aphid is a model for studying rapid adaptation because this species is exceptionally able at adapting to and resisting many pesticides. Understanding this resistance at a molecular level can lead to safer and more effective pesticides and improve human nutrition. The genome of the pea aphid, used extensively as an experimental model, will be a valuable comparison with other insects, such as the closely related insect, Rhodnius prolixus.
Another insect, the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis, is a natural enemy of houseflies, and its relatives are natural enemies of ticks, mites, roaches and other arthropods. It is the genetic model for parasitoids, which lay their eggs on and kill arthropods, thus controlling pest populations. In the United States, the use of parasitoid wasps in agriculture as a biological control of crop damaging insects saves approximately $20 billion annually. The wasp will serve as a good comparison for the honey bee genome, which has been sequenced already. Two related wasp species, Nasonia giraulti and Nasonia longicornis, will be sequenced at less dense coverage to aid in the comparative studies.
Sequencing efforts will be carried out by the five centers in the NHGRI-supported Large-Scale Sequencing Research Network: Agencourt Bioscience Corp., Beverly, Mass.; Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Mass.; The J. Craig Venter Science Institute, Rockville, M
Source:NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute