International collaboration by researchers, including from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick, has organized the milk bug genome, enabling scientists to understand what molecular level is doing the bug, from a colorful development for its toxic diet.
The Hemiptera is a variable insect command, with a similar number of species to the insects, bumblebees, and buttercup. This includes suckling aphids, suction of blood suction beds, and seed feeders such as dairy defect (Oncopeltus fasciatus). However, very few Hemiptera have followed genomes, a critical DNA resource for understanding the genes and proteins behind species biology.
A great boost to insect biodiversity and to the Hemiptera has come from the i5K Project. This large international consortium tries to organize 5000 insect genomes and their relatives. Within this framework, the dairy bug genome was organized and analyzed by 83 researchers working in 27 teams across 10 countries. They reported on their comparatively large-scale results on the Hemiptera in a newspaper published in the magazine Genome Biology.
"Milk beetles are a great species to study," explains the researcher and coordinator species Kristen Panfilio from Warwick University, UK and the University of Cologne, Germany. "They have been a research model for ecology, metabolism, development and genetics since the mid-twentieth century, partly because they are very easy to keep. In fact, the stress we have followed for the project Genome is also used in school classrooms, as the beetles are a red-orange and black color throughout their life cycles. "
Now, the genome data enables researchers to connect genes to diet directly, and eventually, wing the bugs and colors of the body.
One key output was the creation of a database of all enzymes associated with metabolism in the dairy defect, supporting cross-species comparisons.
The striking red-orange color of the milk bug is a warning sign to potential predators: dairy is a toxic food source, and bright warning colors announce that the bugs would taste bad. This is the same color that is found in monarch butterflies, which share this food source. However, metabolism comparisons now reveal that the beetles and butterflies have different enzymes for treating essential amino acids (proteins for building proteins), despite their common diet.
Some of these amino acids are needed for the insects to make their wings. The wings are due to development for exact structure as well as color.
The new genome information enabled researchers to experiment experimental subtle variations (isoforms) of a key gene control for wing development, using a technique called RNA intervention (RNAi).
"After working on wing development for over fifteen years, it's exciting that we now have access to the genome to analyze some of these complex genes in full," he said. University of Brook, USA, and is now based at Oxford University, UK.
The new study also finds that species with highly specialized liquid diets, such as aphids and bed bugs, tend to lose not only some metabolic enzymes, but even the breadth of their smell and taste receptors.
In contrast, the dairy fauna, which favors and feeds on dairy plants over a wide geographical range, retains a fuller repertoire of sensory proteins. At the same time, milk beetles and some of their close relatives have new genes of bacteria, integrating the genes directly into the genome of faults.
Some of the new genes provide enzymes that help these plant feeders to digest the hard cellulose in the plant tissues, including in the stink bug, in invasive pests. Knowing which genes support the diet of invasive species can help researchers develop strategies for integrated pest management.
Finally, the study highlights molecular features in defect genomes. Fruit flies and wasps have very small, concise genomes, while fault genomes are often more than five times larger. So, although insects and insects tend to have the same number of genes, their structure is different, with genes of impairments being widely distributed along the DNA. One feature identified in this study is that bug genes tend to be made from much larger, small units than flight genes, due to a phenomenon known as an episodic intron gain and turnover.
Co-author Robert Waterhouse, at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, explained, "As genome sequencing projects continue to venture into the wider range of insects and animals, knowledge of gene characteristics in larger genomes will be increasingly important. "
I5K, pilot coordinator Stephen Richards says, "Many insect species are agricultural pests or carry diseases, and genome sequencing can help scientists understand how to get to grips with this. the international dairy beetle community on this outstanding achievement, which has already accelerated research on beetles, and comparing the milk bug with other species such as the bed bug is essential to understand the unique value of each species. " t
Researchers will continue to investigate genes important for feeding ecology and associated biological features in beetles. This includes the molecular basis for the red warning pigment as well as bug-specific proteins relating to the protection and development of chemicals.
Panfiling, K.A., et al. Molecular evolutionary trends and diversification of feeding ecology in the Hemiptera, anchored by the dairy bug genome, 2019, Genome Biology, DOI: doi.org/10.1186/s13059-019-1660-0
University of Warwick
Orange orange and DNA wings: How does the genome reveal insect diet (2019, April 1)
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