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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #400563

Research Project: Next-Generation Approaches for Monitoring and Management of Stored Product Insects

Location: Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research

Title: Genome and genetic engineering of the house cricket (Acheta domesticus): Applications for sustainable agriculture

item DOSSEY, AARON - All Things Bugs, Llc
item Oppert, Brenda
item CHU, FU-CHYUN - All Things Bugs, Llc
item LORENZEN, MARCÉ - North Carolina State University
item SCHEFFLER, BRIAN - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item SIMPSON, SHERON - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item KOREN, SERGEY - Nih, National Institutes Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases
item JOHNSTON, J. SPENCER - Texas A&M University
item KATAOKA, KOSUKE - Waseda University
item IDE, KEIGO - Waseda University

Submitted to: PLOS ONE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/11/2023
Publication Date: 3/24/2023
Citation: Dossey, A.T., Oppert, B.S., Chu, F., Lorenzen, M.D., Scheffler, B., Simpson, S., Koren, S., Johnston, J., Kataoka, K., Ide, K. 2023. Genome and genetic engineering of the house cricket (Acheta domesticus): Applications for sustainable agriculture. PLOS ONE. 13(4). Article 589.

Interpretive Summary: The world is facing critical shortages because of limitations on producing protein for human food and livestock feed.  Insects are a promising alternative for nutritious supplemental protein.  One of the most farmed insects is the house cricket, but genetic resources are needed to develop this insect for specific feed and food applications.  We sequenced and assembled a high quality house cricket genome. Further, we demonstrate that with this genome, methods can be developed to modify the genome as a way to improve them for commercial applications, such as providing disease resistant crickets for farming, or more nutritious downstream products.  These data can be used by researchers and producers to improve crickets for animal food and feed.

Technical Abstract: The house cricket, Acheta domesticus, is one of the most farmed insects worldwide and the foundation of an emerging industry for the use of insects as a sustainable food source.  Edible insects present a promising alternative for protein production amid a plethora of recent reports on climate change and biodiversity loss largely driven by agriculture. As with other agricultural crops, genetic resources are needed to improve crickets for food and other applications.  We present the first high quality annotated genome assembly of A. domesticus which was assembled from long read data and scaffolded to chromosome level from long range data, providing information on promoters and genes needed for genetic manipulation. Gene groups that may be useful for improving the value of these insects to farmers were manually annotated, genes related to immunity. Metagenome scaffolds in the A. domesticus assembly, including those from bacteria and other microbes and viruses such as Invertebrate Iridescent Virus 6, were submitted as host-associated sequences. We demonstrate both CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knock-in and knock-out of selected genes and discuss implications for the food, pharmaceutical and other industries.  RNAi was demonstrated to disrupt the function of the vermilion eye-color gene to produce a useful white-eye biomarker phenotype. We are utilizing these data to develop base technologies and methodologies for downstream commercial applications, including the generation of more nutritious and disease resistant crickets as well as lines producing valuable bioproducts such as vaccines and antibiotics. We also discuss how this foundational research can play a critical role in utilizing the largest, most diverse yet almost entirely untapped biological resource on Earth: Class Insecta.