The establishment of a complete genomic sequence of silkworm, the model species of Lepidoptera, laid a foundation for its functional genomics. A more complete annotation of the genome will benefit functional and comparative studies and accelerate extensive industrial applications for this insect. To realize these goals, we embarked upon a large-scale full-length cDNA collection from 21 full-length cDNA libraries derived from 14 tissues of the domesticated silkworm and performed full sequencing by primer walking for 11,104 full-length cDNAs. The large average intron size was 1904 bp, resulting from a high accumulation of transposons. Using gene models predicted by GLEAN and published mRNAs, we identified 16,823 gene loci on the silkworm genome assembly. Orthology analysis of 153 species, including 11 insects, revealed that among three Lepidoptera including Monarch and Heliconius butterflies, the 403 largest silkworm-specific genes were composed mainly of protective immunity, hormone-related, and characteristic structural proteins. Analysis of testis-/ovary-specific genes revealed distinctive features of sexual dimorphism, including depletion of ovary-specific genes on the Z chromosome in contrast to an enrichment of testis-specific genes. More than 40% of genes expressed in specific tissues mapped in tissue-specific chromosomal clusters. The newly obtained FL-cDNA sequences enabled us to annotate the genome of this lepidopteran model insect more accurately, enhancing genomic and functional studies of Lepidoptera and comparative analyses with other insect orders, and yielding new insights into the evolution and organization of lepidopteran-specific genes.
Keywords: Bombyx mori; gene cluster; large-scale full-length cDNA collection; sexual dimorphism; silkworm; tissue-specific genes.