Acyrthociphon pisum, the Pea Aphid

The genome sequence of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum was published today in PLoS. Concurrently, a set of supporting papers has come out in Insect Molecular Biology. This genome is significant for a number of reasons- it’s the first Hemipteran genome to be sequenced, aphids have an unusual reproductive cycle, and this particular species is a serious agricultural pest.

I’ve not had time to fully digest the paper, but it seems the salient features of this genome are:

  • extensive gene duplications
  • a higher gene count than most other known genomes (including our own!), perhaps related to all the duplications
  • a surprising loss of immune genes

source:  The International Aphid Genomics Consortium 2010 Genome Sequence of the Pea Aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum. PLoS Biol 8(2): e1000313. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000313