Chinese scientists have decoded the genome sequence of the migratory locust, providing new ways of combating the destructive pest, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) announced Thursday.
The genome sequence is at 6.5 gigabytes, the largest animal genome sequence so far, according to research headed by Le Kang of the Institute of Zoology at the CAS.
The findings indicate that the large genome size is likely to be because of transposable element proliferation combined with slow rates of loss for these elements, they reported in the journal Nature Communications.
In the research, scientists found significant expansion of gene families associated with energy consumption and detoxification, consistent with long-distance flight capacity and phytophagy.
The scientists assessed changes in gene families related to long-distance migration, feeding and other biological processes unique to the locust and identified genes that might serve as potential pesticide targets.
Hundreds of potential insecticide target genes have been reported, the authors noted in their paper.
(Xinhua News Agency January 16, 2014)