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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Genome Characterization of the Mite Varroa Destructor, the Primary Pest of Honey Bees

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Project Number: 1245-21000-277-07-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 6, 2013
End Date: Sep 30, 2013

The parasitic mite Varroa destructor is the central pest of domesticated and free-living honey bee, causing direct impacts on bee health as well as indirect effects caused by vectoring viruses and other bee disease agents. The objective of this project is to use emerging high-throughput sequencing techniques to sequence, assemble, and annotate the genome of this mite, and use the resulting insights to improve honey bee health and crop pollination. Project impacts will be increased through a cost-effective partnership across existing academic sequencing and informatics centers and by choosing appropriate sequencing techniques for specific questions. This project will be leveraged by engaging ca. 40 academic and governmental researchers in a volunteer consortium, 22 of whom met along with nine industry leaders for an initial ‘Varroa Genome Workshop’ in January 2009 at the American Beekeeping Federation Annual Convention, Reno, Nevada.

1) Continued genomic sequencing to 20x coverage with an ‘optimal’ mix of straight and end-pair 454 reads, followed by genome assembly. 2) Transcriptome surveys using 454 pyrosequencing, focused on a) nymphal development, b) host finding (tarsal library), c) immune responses (gut with and without virus infection), and d) gut microbes. 3) SNP and protein polymorphism discovery using the ABI SOLiD platform on the mite transcriptome. Mites will be from the Midwestern, Southern, mid-Atlantic, and Western U.S. as well as ‘outgroups’ from Australia and France. These data will be aligned with homologous sequence data from the genome reads (Maryland mite), and from the 454 transcriptome reads to give an abundance of SNPs. 4) Development and testing of a canonical gene set and posting of emerging data via Beebase, NCBI, and other public databases.

Last Modified: 09/23/2017
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