Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Crack Genomes of Microscopic Worms Vital for Agri

September 30, 2015

Scientists from the University of California Riverside and partners have sequenced the genomes of five microscopic roundworms that are likely to be involved in parasitism and widely-used in agriculture for biological control. The results are published in Genome Biology.

These nematodes Steinernema carpocapsae, S. feltiae, S. glaseri, S. monticolum and S. scapterisci are considered insect pathogenic because they can easily kill an insect host. The researchers will use the genetic information to improve the efficacy of the nematodes to prevent insect damage to crops. Furthermore, they also found significant information about gene regulation and evolution of the nematodes as compared with other important nematodes in agriculture.

"In particular we found instructions in the genome for turning on and off genes that are involved in the development of neurons and muscle tissue," said Adler Dillman, assistant professor at UC Riverside. "We have also found a number of gene families that seem to be involved in the parasitism of insects by worms and we are excited to continue studying these in future experiments," he added.

Read the media release from UC Riverside.