Evolutionary genomics of three agricultural pest moths reveals rapid evolution of host adaptation and immune-related genes

Gigascience. 2024 Jan 2:13:giad103. doi: 10.1093/gigascience/giad103.


Background: Understanding the genotype of pest species provides an important baseline for designing integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. Recently developed long-read sequence technologies make it possible to compare genomic features of nonmodel pest species to disclose the evolutionary path underlying the pest species profiles. Here we sequenced and assembled genomes for 3 agricultural pest gelechiid moths: Phthorimaea absoluta (tomato leafminer), Keiferia lycopersicella (tomato pinworm), and Scrobipalpa atriplicella (goosefoot groundling moth). We also compared genomes of tomato leafminer and tomato pinworm with published genomes of Phthorimaea operculella and Pectinophora gossypiella to investigate the gene family evolution related to the pest species profiles.

Results: We found that the 3 solanaceous feeding species, P. absoluta, K. lycopersicella, and P. operculella, are clustered together. Gene family evolution analyses with the 4 species show clear gene family expansions on host plant-associated genes for the 3 solanaceous feeding species. These genes are involved in host compound sensing (e.g., gustatory receptors), detoxification (e.g., ABC transporter C family, cytochrome P450, glucose-methanol-choline oxidoreductase, insect cuticle proteins, and UDP-glucuronosyl), and digestion (e.g., serine proteases and peptidase family S1). A gene ontology enrichment analysis of rapid evolving genes also suggests enriched functions in host sensing and immunity.

Conclusions: Our results of family evolution analyses indicate that host plant adaptation and pathogen defense could be important drivers in species diversification among gelechiid moths.

Keywords: Gelechiidae; detoxification; genome assembly; goosefoot groundling moth; host adaptation; immunity; tomato leafminer; tomato pinworm; twirler moths.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genomics
  • Host Adaptation
  • Moths* / genetics
  • Pest Control
  • Solanum lycopersicum*