A heterozygous moth genome provides insights into herbivory and detoxification

Minsheng You, Zhen Yue, Weiyi He, Xinhua Yang, Guang Yang, Miao Xie, Dongliang Zhan, Simon W. Baxter, Liette Vasseur, Geoff M. Gurr, Carl J. Douglas, Jianlin Bai, Ping Wang, Kai Cui, Shiguo Huang, Xianchun Li, Qing Zhou, Zhangyan Wu, Qilin Chen, Chunhui LiuBo Wang, Xiaojing Li, Xiufeng Xu, Changxin Lu, Min Hu, John W. Davey, Sandy M. Smith, Mingshun Chen, Xiaofeng Xia, Weiqi Tang, Fushi Ke, Dandan Zheng, Yulan Hu, Fengqin Song, Yanchun You, Xiaoli Ma, Lu Peng, Yunkai Zheng, Yong Liang, Yaqiong Chen, Liying Yu, Younan Zhang, Yuanyuan Liu, Guoqing Li, Lin Fang, Jingxiang Li, Xin Zhou, Yadan Luo, Caiyun Gou, Junyi Wang, Jian Wang, Huanming Yang, Jan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

346 Scopus citations


How an insect evolves to become a successful herbivore is of profound biological and practical importance. Herbivores are often adapted to feed on a specific group of evolutionarily and biochemically related host plants, but the genetic and molecular bases for adaptation to plant defense compounds remain poorly understood. We report the first whole-genome sequence of a basal lepidopteran species, Plutella xylostella, which contains 18,071 protein-coding and 1,412 unique genes with an expansion of gene families associated with perception and the detoxification of plant defense compounds. A recent expansion of retrotransposons near detoxification-related genes and a wider system used in the metabolism of plant defense compounds are shown to also be involved in the development of insecticide resistance. This work shows the genetic and molecular bases for the evolutionary success of this worldwide herbivore and offers wider insights into insect adaptation to plant feeding, as well as opening avenues for more sustainable pest management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-225
Number of pages6
JournalNature Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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