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Creating strain-specific genetic markers for beneficial insects: a genomic approach

posted on 23.04.2021, 13:18 by Kim FergusonKim Ferguson, Eveline VerhulstEveline Verhulst, Sophie Chattington, Bas Zwaan, Bart Pannebakker
Biocontrol is the introduction of one organism to control the population of another organism, and has had a commercial application for over a century. With the latest advances in next generation sequencing, now is the moment to both improve biocontrol as well as counter potential shortcomings, such as non-target effects. For example, when massive numbers of parasitoid biocontrol agents are released into a field situation, the effects on native parasitoid populations can be devastating. This may be especially true if the released species is naturally found in the area of release. In order to differentiate between a commercial Trichogramma brassicae (Bezdenko) population and the local Trichogramma population, strain-specific genetic markers need to be developed. The T. brassicae strain used in biocontrol was isolated from Moldavia over 30 years ago, but the species itself is found throughout Europe. Therefore, newly developed strain-specific markers can only be used if they differentiate between a wide geographic dispersed set of T. brassicae isolates, as well as other Trichogramma species. In order to optimize this marker selection, the genome of a Wolbachia-infected T. brassicae strain is sequenced and constructed via a de novo hybrid approach, allowing for future genomic comparisons between populations.

This presentation was given at the 16th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology, which took place in Groningen, The Netherlands. My presentation occurred on August 22nd in session 34. Applications of evolutionary biology in agriculture and industry. All data and methodology is attributed to myself, Sophie Chattington, or my student, Lorraine Latchoumane, within the presentation. I've included both the powerpoint slides and a PDF with annotations that can be toggled on and off.


EU Horizon 2020 program, grant nr. 641456