Research Highlights

Research Highlights
Soybean Aphid Genome Complete!

Soybean aphids. Photo by A. Varenhorst

by Andy Michel, Field Crops Entomologist, Ohio State University

My laboratory at Ohio State focuses on understanding how soybean aphids are able to overcome aphid resistance in soybean.  Through this research, we hope to develop strategies that prevent the spread and increase of aphids capable of breaking aphid resistance. In the course of generating DNA sequences with projects funded by The Ohio Soybean Council and The North Central Soybean Research Program (as well as USDA-NIFA and the Center for Applied Plant Sciences at OSU), we were able to sequence the entire soybean aphid genome.

This genome represents the 4th aphid species with a completely described genome (in addition to the pea aphid, Russian wheat aphid, and green peach aphid). It will further advance our ability to identify soybean aphid genes responsible for overcoming resistant soybean, and hopefully lead to a wider use of aphid-resistant soybean. In addition, as reports of insecticide resistance emerge from colleagues at Minnesota and Iowa, the genome will provide targets to understand resistance and potentially develop markers to monitor the frequency of insecticide-resistant aphids.

This work represents a tremendous effort and collaboration among my laboratory, Ohio State University, and land-grant universities, many of which are located within the North Central region. Our genome was constructed from soybean aphids collected across the North Central region, from collaborators participating in the soybean aphid research group led by Dr. Kelley Tilmon at Ohio State University.

None of this would be possible without the generous support for soybean production research from the Ohio Soybean Council and the North Central Soybean Research Program. I’d like to express my gratitude to these checkoff organizations and to the soybean farmers in Ohio and the North Central region.

This work has been accepted in the journal Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and is currently available online.

Published: Jan 27, 2017