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Biological Sciences


The sweetpotato whitefly Bemisia tabaci is a highly destructive agricultural and ornamental crop pest. It damages host plants through both phloem feeding and vectoring plant pathogens. Introductions of B. tabaci are difficult to quarantine and eradicate because of its high reproductive rates, broad host plant range, and insecticide resistance. A total of 791 Gb of raw DNA sequence from whole genome shotgun sequencing, and 13 BAC pooling libraries were generated by Illumina sequencing using different combinations of mate-pair and pair-end libraries. Assembly gave a final genome with a scaffold N50 of 437 kb, and a total length of 658 Mb. Annotation of repetitive elements and coding regions resulted in 265.0 Mb TEs (40.3%) and 20 786 protein-coding genes with putative gene family expansions, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis based on orthologs across 14 arthropod taxa suggested that MED/Q is clustered into a hemipteran clade containing A. pisum and is a sister lineage to a clade containing both R. prolixus and N. lugens. Genome completeness, as estimated using the CEGMA and Benchmarking Universal Single-Copy Orthologs pipelines, reached 96% and 79%. These MED/Q genomic resources lay a foundation for future ‘pan-genomic’ comparisons of invasive vs. noninvasive, invasive vs. invasive, and native vs. exotic Bemisia, which, in return, will open up new avenues of investigation into whitefly biology, evolution, and management.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.