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Functional insights from the GC-poor genomes of two aphid parasitoids, Aphidius ervi and Lysiphlebus fabarum

  • Dennis, Alice B.1, 2, 3
  • Ballesteros, Gabriel I.4, 4, 4
  • Robin, Stéphanie5, 6
  • Schrader, Lukas7
  • Bast, Jens8, 9
  • Berghöfer, Jan7
  • Beukeboom, Leo W.10
  • Belghazi, Maya11
  • Bretaudeau, Anthony5, 6
  • Buellesbach, Jan7
  • Cash, Elizabeth12
  • Colinet, Dominique13
  • Dumas, Zoé8
  • Errbii, Mohammed7
  • Falabella, Patrizia14
  • Gatti, Jean-Luc13
  • Geuverink, Elzemiek10
  • Gibson, Joshua D.12, 15
  • Hertaeg, Corinne1, 16
  • Hartmann, Stefanie3
  • And 20 more
  • 1 Eawag, Dübendorf, 8600, Switzerland , Dübendorf (Switzerland)
  • 2 ETH Zürich, Zürich, 8092, Switzerland , Zürich (Switzerland)
  • 3 University of Potsdam, Potsdam, 14476, Germany , Potsdam (Germany)
  • 4 Universidad de Talca, Talca, Chile , Talca (Chile)
  • 5 IGEPP, Agrocampus Ouest, INRAE, Université de Rennes, Le Rheu, 35650, France , Le Rheu (France)
  • 6 Université de Rennes 1, INRIA, CNRS, IRISA, Rennes, 35000, France , Rennes (France)
  • 7 Universität Münster, Münster, Germany , Münster (Germany)
  • 8 Université de Lausanne, Lausanne, 1015, Switzerland , Lausanne (Switzerland)
  • 9 Universität zu Köln, Köln, 50674, Germany , Köln (Germany)
  • 10 University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands , Groningen (Netherlands)
  • 11 Aix-Marseille Univ, CNRS, INP, Inst Neurophysiopathol, PINT, PFNT, Marseille, France , Marseille (France)
  • 12 University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 94720, USA , Berkeley (United States)
  • 13 Université Côte d’Azur, INRAE, CNRS, ISA, Sophia Antipolis, France , Sophia Antipolis (France)
  • 14 University of Basilicata, Potenza, 85100, Italy , Potenza (Italy)
  • 15 Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA, 30460, USA , Statesboro (United States)
  • 16 D-USYS, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland , Zürich (Switzerland)
  • 17 INRAE, Sorbonne Université, CNRS, IRD, UPEC, Université Paris Diderot, Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences of Paris, iEES-Paris, Versailles, F-78000, France , Versailles (France)
  • 18 Earlham College, Richmond, IN, 47374, USA , Richmond (United States)
  • 19 Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany , Jena (Germany)
Published Article
BMC Genomics
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
May 29, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12864-020-6764-0
Springer Nature


BackgroundParasitoid wasps have fascinating life cycles and play an important role in trophic networks, yet little is known about their genome content and function. Parasitoids that infect aphids are an important group with the potential for biological control. Their success depends on adapting to develop inside aphids and overcoming both host aphid defenses and their protective endosymbionts.ResultsWe present the de novo genome assemblies, detailed annotation, and comparative analysis of two closely related parasitoid wasps that target pest aphids: Aphidius ervi and Lysiphlebus fabarum (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Aphidiinae). The genomes are small (139 and 141 Mbp) and the most AT-rich reported thus far for any arthropod (GC content: 25.8 and 23.8%). This nucleotide bias is accompanied by skewed codon usage and is stronger in genes with adult-biased expression. AT-richness may be the consequence of reduced genome size, a near absence of DNA methylation, and energy efficiency. We identify missing desaturase genes, whose absence may underlie mimicry in the cuticular hydrocarbon profile of L. fabarum. We highlight key gene groups including those underlying venom composition, chemosensory perception, and sex determination, as well as potential losses in immune pathway genes.ConclusionsThese findings are of fundamental interest for insect evolution and biological control applications. They provide a strong foundation for further functional studies into coevolution between parasitoids and their hosts. Both genomes are available at

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