Washington, Mar 26 : The red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum, a widespread pest for dried commodities such as corn, maize, rice, and flour, has become the first beetle and the first insect pest to have its genome sequenced.
The research, conducted by an international consortium with the participation of a team led by Professor Cornelis Grimmelikhuijzen from the Department of Biology, might have a big impact on agriculture, reports Nature.
Beetles can be very beautiful and colourful, but many beetle species are also serious agricultural pests that can destroy food plants like potatoes and threaten large areas of forest.
Now, a large international research consortium consisting of 64 research groups from 14 countries with the participation of Grimmelikhuijzen's research team has now sequenced the genome from Tribolium. his genome consists of about 200 million nucleotides that code for about 16,000 genes.
According to researchers, these sequencing efforts are extremely important for agriculture and will enable the development of new methods for the protection of food plants against beetles.
They also said that the research is important to better understand the biology of the other beetle species, whose genome has not been sequenced yet.
Cornelis Grimmelikhuijzen said that this makes Tribolium to the favourite model system in beetle research.
The research is published in the journal Nature.