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Aquatic insects are dramatically underrepresented in genomic research

By Scott Hotaling, Joanna L. Kelley, Paul B. Frandsen

Posted 21 Aug 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.20.259754

Aquatic insects comprise 10% of all insect diversity, can be found on every continent except Antarctica, and are key components of freshwater ecosystems. Yet aquatic insect genome biology lags dramatically behind that of terrestrial insects. If genomic effort was spread evenly, one aquatic insect genome would be sequenced for every ~9 terrestrial insect genomes. Instead, ~24 terrestrial insect genomes have been sequenced for every aquatic insect genome. This discrepancy is even more dramatic if the quality of genomic resources is considered; for instance, while no aquatic insect genome has been assembled to the chromosome level, 29 terrestrial insect genomes spanning four orders have. We argue that a lack of aquatic insect genomes is not due to any underlying difficulty (e.g., small body sizes or unusually large genomes) yet it is severely hampering aquatic insect research at both fundamental and applied scales. By expanding the availability of aquatic insect genomes, we will gain key insight into insect diversification and empower future research for a globally important taxonomic group. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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