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Genome of the parasitoid wasp Diachasma alloeum, an emerging model for ecological speciation and transitions to asexual reproduction

By Eric S. Tvedte, Kimberly KO Walden, Kyle E. McElroy, John Werren, Andrew A. Forbes, Glen R. Hood, John M Logsdon, Jeffrey L. Feder, Hugh M. Robertson

Posted 11 Feb 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/545277 (published DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evz205)

Parasitoid wasps are among the most speciose animals, yet have relatively few available genomic resources. We report a draft genome assembly of the wasp Diachasma alloeum (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a host-specific parasitoid of the apple maggot fly Rhagoletis pomonella (Diptera: Tephritidae) and a developing model for understanding how ecological speciation can cascade across trophic levels. Identification of gene content confirmed the overall quality of the draft genome, and we manually annotated ~400 genes as part of this study, including those involved in oxidative phosphorylation, chemosensation, and reproduction. Through comparisons to model hymenopterans such as the European honeybee Apis mellifera and parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis, as well as a more closely related braconid parasitoid Microplitis demolitor, we identified a proliferation of transposable elements in the genome, an expansion of chemosensory genes in D. alloeum and other parasitoid wasps, and the maintenance of several key genes with known roles in sexual reproduction and sex determination. The D. alloeum genome will provide a valuable resource for comparative genomics studies in Hymenoptera as well as specific investigations into the genomic changes associated with ecological speciation and transitions to asexuality.

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