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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Sequence Tobacco Hornworm Genome

August 17, 2016

An international team of researchers led by Prof. Gary Blissard of the Boyce Thompson Institute and Prof. Michael Kanost of Kansas State University, has sequenced the genome of the tobacco hornworm, a caterpillar species used in many research laboratories for studies of insect biology.

The tobacco hornworm, or Manduca sexta, develops into the Carolina sphinx moth. The name Manduca comes from the Latin word for glutton because these caterpillars eat so much. M. sexta occurs naturally in North, Central and South America and is a known pest to gardeners because it eats the leaves of tomato plants and also can be found on pepper, eggplant, and potato plants. The sequenced genome can lead to improved molecular biology, physiology, and neurobiology research in insects and also may help in developing future new methods for insect pest management.

The scientists have made the genome sequence available to the public through the National Agricultural Library and the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

For more details, read the news releases at Boyce Thompson Institute and Kansas state University websites.