Researchers help complete world first wasp genome project

Staff,  The National Tribune,  2020.

In a world first, New Zealand researchers have sequenced the genome of three wasps, two of which are invasive wasps in New Zealand, paving the way for new methods of control for these significant pests.

Genomics Aotearoa researchers working at the University of Otago and Te Herenga Waka–Victoria University of Wellington, alongside colleagues from the UK, Australia and California have successfully completed a three-year project to sequence and interpret the genomes of the common wasp (Vespula vulgaris), German wasp (Vespula germanica), and the western yellowjacket (Vespula pensylvanica).

Their paper, High-Quality Assemblies for Three Invasive Social Wasps from the Vespula Genus, has been published in the Genetics Society of America journal G3: Genes, Genomes and Genetics.

This is the first genome produced globally. It is a major milestone in understanding the biology of Vespula wasps, which have spread across much of the world and are significant pests, affecting human health, economies and biodiversity.

Genomes – the complete set of genetic material present in a cell or organism – are valuable to understand biology of a species. Knowing what genes they have and how they work in turn can help to develop genetic solutions to problems.

More related to this:

Researchers complete world first wasp genome project

The potential for a CRISPR gene drive to eradicate or suppress globally invasive social wasps

Invasion Success and Management Strategies for Social Vespula Wasps

Researchers discover way to eliminate malaria carrying mosquitoes

This gene technology could change the world. Its maker isn’t sure it should