Chromosome-level genome of black cutworm provides novel insights into polyphagy and seasonal migration in insects

Jin, Minghui and Liu, Bo and Zheng, Weigang and Liu, Conghui and Liu, Zhenxing and He, Yuan and Li, Xiaokang and Wu, Chao and Wang, Ping and Liu, Kaiyu and Wu, Shigang and Liu, Hangwei and Chakrabarty, Swapan and Yuan, Haibin and Wilson, Kenneth and Wu, Kongming and Fan, Wei and Xiao, Yutao (2023) Chromosome-level genome of black cutworm provides novel insights into polyphagy and seasonal migration in insects. BMC Biology, 21 (1). ISSN 1741-7007

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Background: The black cutworm, Agrotis ipsilon, is a serious global underground pest. Its distinct phenotypic traits, especially its polyphagy and ability to migrate long distances, contribute to its widening distribution and increasing difficulty of control. However, knowledge about these traits is still limited. Results: We generated a high-quality chromosome-level assembly of A. ipsilon using PacBio and Hi-C technology with a contig N50 length of ~ 6.7 Mb. Comparative genomic and transcriptomic analyses showed that detoxification-associated gene families were highly expanded and induced after insects fed on specific host plants. Knockout of genes that encoded two induced ABC transporters using CRISPR/Cas9 significantly reduced larval growth rate, consistent with their contribution to host adaptation. A comparative transcriptomic analysis between tethered-flight moths and migrating moths showed expression changes in the circadian rhythm gene AiCry2 involved in sensing photoperiod variations and may receipt magnetic fields accompanied by MagR and in genes that regulate the juvenile hormone pathway and energy metabolism, all involved in migration processes. Conclusions: This study provides valuable genomic resources for elucidating the mechanisms involved in moth migration and developing innovative control strategies.

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Journal Article
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BMC Biology
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10 Jan 2023 15:50
Last Modified:
18 Jan 2023 02:21