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Whole genome sequencing of spotted stem borer, Chilo partellus, reveals multiple genes encoding enzymes for detoxification of insecticides

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Spotted stem borer, Chilo partellus, is the most important constraint for increasing the production and productivity of maize and sorghum, the two major coarse cereals in Asia and Africa. The levels of resistance to this pest in the cultivated germplasm are low to moderate, and hence, farmers have to use insecticides for effective control of this pest. However, there is no information on the detoxification mechanisms in C. partellus, which is one of the constraints for deployment of appropriate insecticides to control this pest. The ability to detoxify insecticides varies across insect populations, and hence, we sequenced different populations of C. partellus to identify and understand detoxification mechanisms to devise appropriate strategies for deployment of different insecticides for controlling this pest. Larval samples were sequenced from three different cohorts of C. partellus using the Illumina HiSeq 2500 platform. The data were subjected to identify putative genes that are involved in detoxification on insecticides in our cohort insect species. These studies resulted in identification of 64 cytochrome P450 genes (CYP450s), and 36 glutathione S-transferases genes (GSTs) encoding metabolic detoxification enzymes, primarily responsible for xenobiotic metabolism in insects. A total of 183 circadian genes with > 80% homolog and 11 olfactory receptor genes that mediate chemical cues were found in the C. partellus genome. Also, target receptors related to insecticide action, 4 acetylcholinesterase (AChE), 14 γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and 15 nicotinic acetylcholine (nAChR) receptors were detected. This is the first report of whole genome sequencing of C. partellus useful for understanding mode of action of different insecticides, and mechanisms of detoxification and designing target-specific insecticides to develop appropriate strategies to control C. partellus for sustainable crop production.

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Whole genome sequencing of spotted stem borer, Chilo partellus, reveals multiple genes encoding enzymes for detoxification of insecticides (BioProject: PRJNA778570; Biosample: SAMN22965316, SAMN22965317, and SAMN22965318 with SRA ID: SRR16896023: laboratory-established strain of Chilo partellus; SRR16896022: North India strain of Chilo partellus; SRR16896021: South India strain of Chilo partellus).


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This study was financially supported by the National Agricultural Science Fund, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, India (NASF/ABP-5017/2016–17), and Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Govt. of India (CABin grant F. no. Agril. Edn.4–1/2013-A&P).

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Dhillon, M.K., Jaba, J., Mishra, P. et al. Whole genome sequencing of spotted stem borer, Chilo partellus, reveals multiple genes encoding enzymes for detoxification of insecticides. Funct Integr Genomics 22, 611–624 (2022).

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