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Expansion of LINEs and species-specific DNA repeats drives genome expansion in Asian gypsy moths

Hebert Francois, Freschi Luca, Blackburn Gwylim, Beliveau Catherine, Dewar Ken, Boyle Brian, Gundersen-Rindal Dawn E., Sparks Michael E., Cusson Michel, Hamelin Richard C., Levesque Roger C., Roger C. Levesque
Scientific reports 2019 v.9 no. pp. 16413
DNA, Lymantria dispar, biochemical pathways, ecological invasion, forest pests, genome, genome expansion, genomics, genotype-phenotype correlation, heat production, insect pests, invasive species, moths, repetitive sequences, North America
Two subspecies of Asian gypsy moth (AGM), Lymantria dispar asiatica and L. dispar japonica, pose a serious alien invasive threat to North American forests. Despite decades of research on the ecology and biology of this pest, limited AGM-specific genomic resources are currently available. Here, we report on the genome sequences and functional content of these AGM subspecies. The genomes of L.d. asiatica and L.d. japonica are the largest lepidopteran genomes sequenced to date, totaling 921 and 999 megabases, respectively. Large genome size in these subspecies is driven by the accumulation of specific classes of repeats. Genome-wide metabolic pathway reconstructions suggest strong genomic signatures of energy-related pathways in both subspecies, dominated by metabolic functions related to thermogenesis. The genome sequences reported here will provide tools for probing the molecular mechanisms underlying phenotypic traits that are thought to enhance AGM invasiveness.