Biologists sequenced red flour beetle genome

Mar 23, 2008

Most of us hate to find the red flour beetle living happily in the flour sack in our pantries. But for several scientists at Kansas State University, and many others throughout the world, this pest of stored grain and grain products is the best organism for studying genetics.

The superior status of this beetle, Tribolium castaneum, as an experimental system is largely because of the work of two Kansas State University faculty, Susan Brown, professor of biology, and Rob Denell, university distinguished professor of biology. They worked in collaboration with Richard Beeman, research entomologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Grain Marketing and Production Research Center in Manhattan.

This team won funding to get Tribolium’s genome sequenced, making it one of the earliest insect genomes to be sequenced and the first pest insect to be studied in this way.

“We’ve been able to exploit Tribolium’s ease of culture, short life cycle, and facile genetics to create an array of sophisticated methodologies,” Denell said. “It now joins the fruit fly Drosophila as a premier insect genetic system, and even offers advantages in some areas of study.”

The journal Nature will publish an article March 27 announcing the sequencing of the beetle’s genetic material and summarizing the implications of this work.

“It’s really exciting to see the burst of activity in Tribolium studies that has accompanied the sequencing project,” Brown said. “This new information will greatly aid research on topics as diverse as insect pest management and the genetic control of development.”

The genomic sequence, genetic maps and gene information are available from the National Center for Biotechnical Information and at www.beetlebase.org .

Source: Kansas State University

Explore further: Culprit identified in decline of endangered Missouri River pallid sturgeon

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bacteria coordinate activities with chemical 'language'

Jan 15, 2015

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich researchers have discovered a previously unknown chemical language used by many bacterial species to coordinate their activities, and show in a model organism that such ...

Ancient wisdom boosts sustainability of biotech cotton

Dec 15, 2014

Advocates of biotech crops and those who favor traditional farming practices such as crop diversity often seem worlds apart, but a new study shows that these two approaches can be compatible. An international ...

Recommended for you

The elephant poaching business in numbers

6 hours ago

From the pittance paid to local poachers to a multi-billion dollar industry, here are some of the key numbers related to Africa's endangered elephants:

Kalbarri abalone gets helping hand

Jan 23, 2015

Department of Fisheries staff and Kalbarri fishermen have released 24,000 Roe's abalone (Haliotis roei) onto reef platforms along the cliffs north of Kalbarri, to restock a population decimated by the marine ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.