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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Sequence Bedbug Genome

February 3, 2016

Purdue University researchers participated in a multi-institutional project that sequenced the genome of the common bedbug, a blood-sucking insect and a hardy pest capable of withstanding most insecticides.

Bedbugs have plagued humans for at least three thousand years, emerging at night to feed on blood, their sole source of nutrition and water. Widespread use of insecticides in homes decreased their numbers dramatically, but the bedbug has rebounded from near eradication.

The genome of Cimex lectularius uncovers the bedbugs' unique biology. Bedbugs were found to have developed multiple ways of resisting insecticides such as the armor-like outer cuticle that acts as a barrier and sports detoxification genes that help prevent insecticide penetration. The bugs might also detoxify ingested pesticides using the same robust antioxidant enzyme system they use to detoxify blood.

To learn more, read the article on the Purdue University website.