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Crop Biotech Update

International Team Publishes Asian Citrus Pysllid Genome

September 27, 2017

An international team of researchers led by the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) has published a draft assembly and annotation of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) genome. The ACP (Diaphorina citri) is the insect vector that spreads the bacterium responsible for citrus greening disease (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, or CLas).

Much research has been conducted on CLas and the citrus plants it infects, but the insects have received less attention. Together with partners from 21 research institutions, BT's Mueller and Heck Labs published a draft assembly D. citri genome, comprising 530 manually curated gene models and 20,000 automatically predicted genes.

"The genome of the ACP contains thousands of genes. Some of them are similar to other insects, and we can infer their complete sequence and function by comparing the ACP sequence with that from other organisms. Others are totally different, and specific to the ACP. These are much more difficult to study and critically important," according to Michelle Heck, BTI assistant professor and project leader. Genes were manually corrected to produce the most complete and accurate information from the data.

The group produced a new gene set, which combines automatic gene predictions and manual curations. The manual curation effort focused on genes that the group thinks are important for transmission of the citrus greening bacterium.

For more details, read the BTI News.