Image of the Day: Colorado Potato Beetles

Leptinotarsa decemlineata has been decimating agricultural crops since at least the 19th century, and by sequencing its genome researchers hope to explore new strategies for controlling the pest.

By The Scientist Staff | February 6, 2018

Leptinotarsa decemlineata, the Colorado potato beetleZACH COHEN

Researchers from 34 institutes and universities reported last week (January 31) in Scientific Reports that they sequenced the potato beetle’s genome (Leptinotarsa decemlineata), shedding light on how the insect moves to new plant hosts and defends itself against toxins. They found that at least 17 percent of the agricultural pest’s genome is composed of transposable elements that can facilitate quick adaptation to new plant hosts. They also found the potato bug has a group of genes involved in insecticide resistance that are similar to those found in other beetles. 

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