The Bear Giant-Skipper genome suggests genetic adaptations to living inside yucca roots

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3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Giant-Skippers (Megathymini) are unusual thick-bodied, moth-like butterflies whose caterpillars feed inside Yucca roots and Agave leaves. Giant-Skippers are attributed to the subfamily Hesperiinae and they are endemic to southern and mostly desert regions of the North American continent. To shed light on the genotypic determinants of their unusual phenotypic traits, we sequenced and annotated a draft genome of the largest Giant-Skipper species, the Bear (Megathymus ursus violae). The Bear skipper genome is the least heterozygous among sequenced Lepidoptera genomes, possibly due to much smaller population size and extensive inbreeding. Their lower heterozygosity helped us to obtain a high-quality genome with an N50 of 4.2 Mbp. The ~ 430 Mb genome encodes about 14000 proteins. Phylogenetic analysis supports placement of Giant-Skippers with Grass-Skippers (Hesperiinae). We find that proteins involved in odorant and taste sensing as well as in oxidative reactions have diverged significantly in Megathymus as compared to Lerema, another Grass-Skipper. In addition, the Giant-Skipper has lost several odorant and gustatory receptors and possesses many fewer (1/3–1/2 of other skippers) anti-oxidative enzymes. Such differences may be related to the unusual life style of Giant-Skippers: they do not feed as adults, and their caterpillars feed inside Yuccas and Agaves, which provide a source of antioxidants such as polyphenols.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMolecular Genetics and Genomics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Yucca
Ursidae
Genome
Agave
Poaceae
Odorant Receptors
Butterflies
Lepidoptera
Inbreeding
Moths
Polyphenols
Population Density
Life Style
Proteins
Antioxidants
Enzymes

Keywords

  • Antioxidants
  • Comparative genomics
  • Root borers
  • Skipper butterflies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

Cite this

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title = "The Bear Giant-Skipper genome suggests genetic adaptations to living inside yucca roots",
abstract = "Giant-Skippers (Megathymini) are unusual thick-bodied, moth-like butterflies whose caterpillars feed inside Yucca roots and Agave leaves. Giant-Skippers are attributed to the subfamily Hesperiinae and they are endemic to southern and mostly desert regions of the North American continent. To shed light on the genotypic determinants of their unusual phenotypic traits, we sequenced and annotated a draft genome of the largest Giant-Skipper species, the Bear (Megathymus ursus violae). The Bear skipper genome is the least heterozygous among sequenced Lepidoptera genomes, possibly due to much smaller population size and extensive inbreeding. Their lower heterozygosity helped us to obtain a high-quality genome with an N50 of 4.2 Mbp. The ~ 430 Mb genome encodes about 14000 proteins. Phylogenetic analysis supports placement of Giant-Skippers with Grass-Skippers (Hesperiinae). We find that proteins involved in odorant and taste sensing as well as in oxidative reactions have diverged significantly in Megathymus as compared to Lerema, another Grass-Skipper. In addition, the Giant-Skipper has lost several odorant and gustatory receptors and possesses many fewer (1/3–1/2 of other skippers) anti-oxidative enzymes. Such differences may be related to the unusual life style of Giant-Skippers: they do not feed as adults, and their caterpillars feed inside Yuccas and Agaves, which provide a source of antioxidants such as polyphenols.",
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author = "Qian Cong and Wenlin Li and Dominika Borek and Zbyszek Otwinowski and Grishin, {Nick V.}",
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T1 - The Bear Giant-Skipper genome suggests genetic adaptations to living inside yucca roots

AU - Cong, Qian

AU - Li, Wenlin

AU - Borek, Dominika

AU - Otwinowski, Zbyszek

AU - Grishin, Nick V.

PY - 2018/1/1

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N2 - Giant-Skippers (Megathymini) are unusual thick-bodied, moth-like butterflies whose caterpillars feed inside Yucca roots and Agave leaves. Giant-Skippers are attributed to the subfamily Hesperiinae and they are endemic to southern and mostly desert regions of the North American continent. To shed light on the genotypic determinants of their unusual phenotypic traits, we sequenced and annotated a draft genome of the largest Giant-Skipper species, the Bear (Megathymus ursus violae). The Bear skipper genome is the least heterozygous among sequenced Lepidoptera genomes, possibly due to much smaller population size and extensive inbreeding. Their lower heterozygosity helped us to obtain a high-quality genome with an N50 of 4.2 Mbp. The ~ 430 Mb genome encodes about 14000 proteins. Phylogenetic analysis supports placement of Giant-Skippers with Grass-Skippers (Hesperiinae). We find that proteins involved in odorant and taste sensing as well as in oxidative reactions have diverged significantly in Megathymus as compared to Lerema, another Grass-Skipper. In addition, the Giant-Skipper has lost several odorant and gustatory receptors and possesses many fewer (1/3–1/2 of other skippers) anti-oxidative enzymes. Such differences may be related to the unusual life style of Giant-Skippers: they do not feed as adults, and their caterpillars feed inside Yuccas and Agaves, which provide a source of antioxidants such as polyphenols.

AB - Giant-Skippers (Megathymini) are unusual thick-bodied, moth-like butterflies whose caterpillars feed inside Yucca roots and Agave leaves. Giant-Skippers are attributed to the subfamily Hesperiinae and they are endemic to southern and mostly desert regions of the North American continent. To shed light on the genotypic determinants of their unusual phenotypic traits, we sequenced and annotated a draft genome of the largest Giant-Skipper species, the Bear (Megathymus ursus violae). The Bear skipper genome is the least heterozygous among sequenced Lepidoptera genomes, possibly due to much smaller population size and extensive inbreeding. Their lower heterozygosity helped us to obtain a high-quality genome with an N50 of 4.2 Mbp. The ~ 430 Mb genome encodes about 14000 proteins. Phylogenetic analysis supports placement of Giant-Skippers with Grass-Skippers (Hesperiinae). We find that proteins involved in odorant and taste sensing as well as in oxidative reactions have diverged significantly in Megathymus as compared to Lerema, another Grass-Skipper. In addition, the Giant-Skipper has lost several odorant and gustatory receptors and possesses many fewer (1/3–1/2 of other skippers) anti-oxidative enzymes. Such differences may be related to the unusual life style of Giant-Skippers: they do not feed as adults, and their caterpillars feed inside Yuccas and Agaves, which provide a source of antioxidants such as polyphenols.

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