Beetle genomes in the 21st century: prospects, progress and priorities


The order Coleoptera (beetles) is arguably the most species-rich lineage of animals. Beetles exhibit an extraordinary variety of life histories and occupy most terrestrial environments. Whole genome sequences are available for 11 beetle species, only six of which have been published. Studies of beetle genomes have revealed remarkable new insights into the genomic basis and evolution of beetle life histories and other aspects of beetle biodiversity, including the genes underlying chemoperception, detoxification, and specialized plant feeding, as well as the role of horizontal gene transfer in elaboration of the beetle trophic repertoire. Nonetheless, such studies are in their infancy. The study of beetle genomes has the potential to further revolutionize our understanding of beetle biodiversity, but genomic studies of beetles remain seriously limited in scope and resolution by the very few genomes that are currently available for study.

Publication Title

Current Opinion in Insect Science