Submitted to: Genome Biology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: February 26, 2003
Publication Date: April 23, 2003
Citation: Evans, J.D., Gundersen, D.E. 2003. Bees to bombyx: future directions in applied insect genomics. Genome Biology. 4(3):107-111.
Interpretive Summary: Genomic studies are underway for several insects which have agricultural and medical importance. Here we show the general importance of insects as targets for genetics research and describe some specific characteristics that can be used to evaluate insect candidates. Since different insect genomics projects share many of the same motivations and tools we also discuss recent workshops aimed at integrating the field of insect genomics. Finally, we discuss in-progress genomics programs with two insects of agricultural importance, the honey bee and the silk moth.
The recent sequencing of the Anopheles gambiae genome is a watershed event in genomics for two reasons. First, this species is of sufficient phylogenetic distance from Drosophila melanogaster to provide the best view to date of changes in genome organization and composition across the insects. Second, Anopheles gambiae is the first animal to be sequenced, other than ourselves, whose actions have a strong direct impact on human lives. Here we describe traits in other insects that make them important candidates for genomics projects, including genome size, economic importance and current knowledge. We also describe several recent workshops aimed at uniting genomicists working with insect species, and show how the participants have common goals with respect to the development and use of genomic information. Researchers studying insect genomes can use these shared goals to more efficiently address problems in medicine, biotechnology, and agriculture.