The genome of the model beetle and pest Tribolium castaneum

Nature. 2008 Apr 24;452(7190):949-55. doi: 10.1038/nature06784. Epub 2008 Mar 23.


Tribolium castaneum is a member of the most species-rich eukaryotic order, a powerful model organism for the study of generalized insect development, and an important pest of stored agricultural products. We describe its genome sequence here. This omnivorous beetle has evolved the ability to interact with a diverse chemical environment, as shown by large expansions in odorant and gustatory receptors, as well as P450 and other detoxification enzymes. Development in Tribolium is more representative of other insects than is Drosophila, a fact reflected in gene content and function. For example, Tribolium has retained more ancestral genes involved in cell-cell communication than Drosophila, some being expressed in the growth zone crucial for axial elongation in short-germ development. Systemic RNA interference in T. castaneum functions differently from that in Caenorhabditis elegans, but nevertheless offers similar power for the elucidation of gene function and identification of targets for selective insect control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Composition
  • Body Patterning / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics
  • Genes, Insect / genetics*
  • Genome, Insect / genetics*
  • Growth and Development / genetics
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / pharmacology
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / genetics
  • Oogenesis / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Proteome / genetics
  • RNA Interference
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, Odorant / genetics
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid / genetics
  • Taste / genetics
  • Telomere / genetics
  • Tribolium / classification
  • Tribolium / embryology
  • Tribolium / genetics*
  • Tribolium / physiology
  • Vision, Ocular / genetics


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Insecticides
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Proteome
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Odorant
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System