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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Biological Control of Insects Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #396849

Research Project: Biologically-Based Products for Insect Pest Control and Emerging Needs in Agriculture

Location: Biological Control of Insects Research

Title: The Wnt gene family in Tenebrio molitor and other coleopterans

item YANG, LIN - Southwest Forestry University
item LI, GUANG-YA - Southwest Forestry University
item LI, XING-YAN - Southwest Forestry University
item WU, CHAO-YAN - Southwest Forestry University
item WANG, JUN - Southwest Forestry University
item SONG, QI-SHENG - University Of Missouri
item Stanley, David
item WEI, SHU-JUN - Southwest Forestry University
item ZHU, JIA-YING - Southwest Forestry University

Submitted to: Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/30/2022
Publication Date: 5/18/2022
Citation: Yang, L., Li, G., Li, X., Wu, C., Wang, J., Song, Q., Stanley, D.W., Wei, S., Zhu, J. 2022. The Wnt gene family in Tenebrio molitor and other coleopterans. Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology. 111(3). Article 21915.

Interpretive Summary: Applications of chemical insecticides began in the U.S. in the 1930s. Beginning in the 1950s, widespread insecticide applications led to increased crop production in many industrialized nations. However, the insecticide applications let to serious environmental issues and to pest insect resistance to the insecticides. These negative outcomes led to research meant to support higher crop production while reducing issues associated with insecticide applications. The research led to new technologies, such as environmentally compatible insecticidal chemistries and insecticide resistance management programs. More recently, advances in genetics prompted research into possible genetic insect management technologies. The problem with the new approach is sufficient information on insect genes to support research is lacking. In this paper, we provide new information on nearly 150 new genes that act in the life cycle of pest beetle species. Scientists around the world will use this new information to develop new genetic-based insect management technologies. This approach will lead to abundant and safe foods for a growing human population.

Technical Abstract: The Wnt gene family is involved in a wide range of developmental processes. Despite its significance, the evolution and function of Wnt genes remain largely unclear. Here, an exhaustive survey of Wnt genes was conducted in Tenebrio molitor and 17 other beetle genomes. A total of 146 Wnt genes were identified, creating a comprehensive coleoteran Wnt gene catalog. Comparative genomics indicates that dynamic evolutionary patterns of Wnt gene loss and duplication occurred in Coleoptera, leading to the diverse Wnt gene repertoire in various beetles. A striking loss of particular Wnt gene subfamilies occurs in Coleoptera. Remarkably, Wnt gene duplication was discovered for the first time in insects. Further analysis of Wnt gene expression in T. molitor indicates that each Wnt gene, including the duplicated ones, has a unique spatial or temporal expression pattern. The current study provides valuable insight into the evolution and functional validation of Wnt genes in Coleoptera.