i5K Arthropod Genome Initiative

The Asian longhorned beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis, also known as the starry sky beetle, has successfully invaded North America and Europe where it infests maple, birch, willow, elm, poplar, and many other trees. An international team of scientists from more than 30 research institutions and led by Dr. Duane McKenna from the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Memphis, report on the sequencing, annotation, and comparative exploration of this beetle's genome in the journal Genome Biology. The DNA sequencing and genome assembly was performed at the Baylor College of Medicine under the direction of Dr. Stephen Richards and was part of the i5K arthropod genome initiative. The international team's efforts were made possible through funding from United States agencies including the National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and National Institutes of Health, as well as the German Research Foundation and the Swiss National Science Foundation. Sequencing and annotating the beetle's genome enabled the researchers to perform detailed comparative analyses with other insects and examine the thousands of encoded genes for clues about how they have evolved to successfully feed on tree tissues.