Implications of the <i>Tribolium</i> genome project for pest biology

  • R. W. Beeman USDA-ARS Center for Grain and Animal Health Research, 1515 College Avenue, Manhattan KS 66502, Email:
  • Y. Arakane Department of Biochemistry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, (YA), (SM)
  • T. W. Phillips Department of Entomology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506
  • S. Muthukrishnan Department of Biochemistry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, (YA), (SM)


Implications of the Tribolium genome project for pest biology The universal availability of the complete Tribolium castaneum genome sequence assembly and annotation (Richards et al., 2008) and concomitant development of the versatile Tribolium genome browser, BeetleBase (Kim et al., 2010, open new realms of possibility for stored product pest control by greatly simplifying the task of connecting biology and behavior with underlying molecular mechanisms. This genome has enabled sequence similarity searches that have resulted in a flood of new discovery involving thousands of genes with important functions in digestion, osmoregulation, metamorphosis, olfaction, xenobiotic metabolism, vision, and embryonic and larval growth and development. The value of the T. castaneum genome sequence is greatly enhanced by the availability of a sophisticated functional genomic toolkit for laboratory studies of this insect. These tools include high-resolution physical and genetic maps, genomic and cDNA libraries, balancer chromosomes, and effective and reliable techniques for specific knockout of any target gene via RNA interference (RNAi). In this paper we briefly discuss just two areas of Tribolium biology research that are being revitalized by the availability of the genome sequence, namely olfaction and exoskeleton, or “smell and skin”.