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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Research Project #439664

Research Project: High Quality Genome Sequencing and Assembly of the Mormon Cricket, Anabrus Simplex

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-21000-291-035-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Feb 15, 2021
End Date: Feb 14, 2022

The Mormon cricket, Anabrus simplex, is a devastating rangeland pest native to North America. They periodically develop into massive migratory bands that move across the landscape, causing economic damage in the form of crop loss and rangeland destruction in Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Montana, and Wyoming. Current management methods rely on chemical insecticides, but these are not always effective or desired for use by rangeland managers, especially in areas of sensitive habitat and near species of concern. A reference quality genome assembly will support the development of novel management methods, including molecular-based tools, that do not rely on traditional insecticides.

Mormon crickets will be sourced from available colonies at the Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, MT and provided to USDA-ARS’s Ag100Pest team for DNA isolation and preparation for sequencing. Long-read PacBio HiFi sequencing will be performed on a Sequel II instrument and these data will be assembled into a contig assembly. Subsequently, HiC data will be used to scaffold the assembly to chromosome-level. The final assembly will be deposited into NCBI and the data will be integrated into the publicly accessible i5k Workspace@NAL. The genome assembly will allow identification of target sites in the Mormon cricket's genome for molecular-based control measures as well as other research on physiology, immunity and comparative work with other insects.