Skip to Content

Milkweed Bug Genome Project

Milkweed bug
Image source: (c)2008 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man) (Self-photographed) [GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia Commons

Milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus)

Milkweed bug

Milkweed bug adult and nymph

Image source:
Kristen Panfilio

Contact: Ariel Chipman and Kristen Panfilio

Researchers involved: Approx. 50. Listed at
Size (or size of nearest relative): 975 MBp

Keywords (and why important): Novel chemistry, evolutionary branching, RNAi, Evo-Devo

Oncopeltus fasciatus has been an established lab organism for over 60 years, and has been used for a wide range of studies from physiology to development and evolution. As a relatively conservative and generalized species, it affords a baseline against which other species can be compared.

For example, this species has the same piercing and sucking type mouthparts as its less benign relatives, including the blood-sucking kissing bug, Rhodnius prolixus, and the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, which are disease vector and agricultural pest species, respectively. Unlike the pest species, the benign, seed-feeding Oncopeltus can be functionally investigated in the lab by RNA interference (RNAi). Comparing the genomes, and conducting experimental lab work in Oncopeltus, will help to identify unique features of the pest species, and thus inform management strategies for them.

More generally, Oncopeltus is a key species for comparisons across the insects. It is one of the few experimentally tractable hemimetabolous species that can ground comparisons with the completely metamorphosing species of the Holometabola (e.g., flies, beetles, wasps). Topics investigated in this framework include reproductive biology and development of the legs, wings, body segments, extraembryonic membranes, and overall establishment of the body plan.

Genomic Resources

For the most current version of the assembly, please use 'NCBI BioProject' (find link below). If the assembly is unavailable in the BioProject page (it is still being worked on), you can look under the 'BCM-HGSC data' (find link below) for intermediate versions of the assembly.

Web Apollo: A web-based sequence annotation editor for community annotation

For information about Web Apollo, please contact Monica Poelchau.

Additional Resources

Learn more about the milkweed bug

about seo | page