An international team of scientists have combined their expertise to complete the whole genome sequence of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata. This insect pest attacks more than 260 fruit, vegetable and nut crops worldwide, including Europe and Australia, causing billions of dollars annually in direct harm, export sanctions, lost markets as well as treatment and prevention expenses. Reported in Genome Biology, researchers now have an edge in understanding how this insect’s genetics enable it to be such a successful invasive pest. Genes control many important traits such as its ability to reproduce, withstand pathogens, find host plants, and break down environmental toxins.
Congratulations to Mike Kanost (Kansas State University) and Gary Blissard (Cornell University) who spearheaded our large, international, collaborative project on decyphering the DNA of the tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta)! Manduca is not only an important pest insect of Solanaceae plants (tomatoes, tobacco etc), evolved a number of cool adaptations (e.g. it can happily munch on nicotine-filled leaves)
Ali Livernois’s work on Pogona vitticeps (dragon lizard) interleukins has just been accepted at Immunogenetics! This is the second paper that is published this week from our lab and focuses on non-model species immunity (see here for our oyster one!). A collaboration between University of Canberra and us has resulted in the manual annotation of these rather divergent cytokines
Nicole Ertl has had her PhD thesis manuscript on the Sydney Rock oyster (Saccostrea glomerata) accepted in PLoS One! Focusing on the immunity system, this was the first transcriptome for this species and tremendous manual annotation effort from Nicole. We now have a large number of candidate genes to understand how this marine organism is coping with such
With Wei Xu (of Murdoch Uni), Alisha Anderson (CSIRO) and Huijie Zhang we just got our new Heliothine paper accepted at Nature’s Scientific Reports and discovered a new subfamily of the gustatory chemosensory receptors! With about 180 gustatory genes, this highly polyphagous species (cotton bollworm) is one of the richest and most diverse with regards to this family. It is likely
Alexie has published a new (publicly) peer-reviewed perspective article on how genome projects are born, live and… evolve! This, is argued, is driven by a new paradigm of collaboration and technologies, including bioinformatics. Why is it important? Sequencing the genome of a new species is a still a significant undertaking that vastly enable future discoveries. As society is
Our application paper on an awesome tool for designing RNAi probes for non-model species (a work driven by Rob Good and Temi Varghese) has finally seen the print in Bioinformatics (Oxford)! This is work we worked between the CSIRO and University of Melbourne as part of a Grand Challenges grant. This the first paper of a tool that takes into
Our first paper on our new interest of ecotoxicology has been accepted in PLoS One. A highly polymorphic (in terms of DNA sequence) species, rainbowfish (Melanotaenia fluviatilis) was not the easiest species to work with (hence we refer to circa 44,000 transcripts rather than genes). It certainly needs a new genome project but in the meantime we
We attended the (first) Australian Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Society 2015 conference and had an awesome time! Alexie presented his NESCent work on the Genome Train, met new and old friends. Pleased to see a new society on this very important topic. Australian bioinformatics onwards and upwards!
Our Helicoverpa CSIRO work with the Rothamsted Research Institute is out! The Helicoverpa armigera moths (cotton bollworm) are migratory megapests that can decimate crops in all known continents (in the Americas the very closely related species is known as Helicoverpa zea but H. armigera has now begun to invade). They can fly hundreds of kilometers