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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #319550

Title: Agricultural applications of insect ecological genomics

item Poelchau, Monica
item Coates, Brad
item Childers, Christopher
item Perez De Leon, Adalberto - Beto
item Evans, Jay
item Hackett, Kevin
item Shoemaker, David

Submitted to: Current Opinion in Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/13/2016
Publication Date: 1/7/2016
Citation: Poelchau, M.F., Coates, B.S., Childers, C., Evans, J.D., Hackett, K.J., Shoemaker, D.D. 2016. Agricultural applications of insect ecological genomics. Current Opinion in Insect Science. 13:61-69. doi:10.1016/j.cois.2015.12.002.

Interpretive Summary: Insect pests that damage or transmit disease to agricultural commodities cause significant economic loss in the United States. Developing novel environmentally sound and sustainable strategies to manage insect pest populations requires an understanding of ecological interactions that influence these pest population sizes and adaptation. Research into complex pest-commodity, pest-predator, pest-pathogen, pest-symbiont, and pest-environment interactions require large-scale data collection and analyses, one approach using genomic sequence and gene expression data. ARS scientists provide a review of the current status and future prospects of a field of study called "Ecological Genomics" which defines major concepts and practices of this field in the agricultural insect sciences. This work will be of interest to public and private sector scientists that study insect interactions within the agricultural ecosystem and those developing or evaluating management practices.

Technical Abstract: Agricultural entomology is poised to benefit from the application of ecological genomics, in particular the fields of biofuels generation and pest insect control. Metagenomic methods can characterize microbial communities of termites, wood-boring beetles and other insects, and transcriptomic approaches are revealing molecular bases behind wood-digesting capabilities of these insects, leading to potential mechanisms for biofuel generation. Insect genome sequences are exploited to develop new insect control methods, by identifying RNAi target sequences and potential non-target effects in other insects. Gene content analysis of pest insect genome sequences and their endosymbionts suggest metabolic interdependencies between organisms, exposing potential gene targets for insect control. Finally, genome-wide association studies and genotyping by high-throughput sequencing promise to improve existing efforts to manage insecticide resistance.