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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: AUGMENTATIVE BIOLOGICAL CONTROL AND MASS REARING FOR BENEFICIAL AND PEST INSECTS Title: Lacewing as a Genetic Model Organism

Author
item Allen, Margaret

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 24, 2010
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Lacewings (Chrysopidae: Neuroptera) are a family of insect predators, also called aphidlions because of their voracious feeding on aphids. They are well recognized, commericalized beneficial insects, and are appreciated as generalist predators by both individual gardeners and commercial growers of food and horticultural crops. A lacewing species, Chrysoperla rufilabris, is a good prospect for sequencing and developing as a model organism for genetic study because: It represents a new (to genetics) insect order and trophic category, insect generalist predator (entomophage); It is easy to culture, maintain, and handle; It has a foundation of commercial suppliers, and further commercial potential, potentially increasing “green” jobs; It has developmental research potential, having morphologically “primitive” characters in antennae, mouthparts, legs and wings; It has evolutionary/phylogenetic research potential – no representatives of the order Neuroptera have been sequenced, and the order is evolutionarily important, being a primitive holometabolous insect; Materials of industrial interest can be identified from this order including silks, aggregation pheromones for predators, and secretions that are repellent to other insects; At least one highly inbred population is available through USDA-ARS; A representative species of this organism’s primary prey has a completed genome (Acyrthosiphon pisum, the pea aphid); The adult insect is pretty, making it appealing for education and outreach activities. The community envisioned for the lacewing effort includes members unique in the world of genome sequencing – the biological control industry. Genetics projects incorporating lacewings will provide a wealth of research opportunity and open new marketing opportunities for biocontrol science and industry.

Last Modified: 11/23/2014
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