2013-03-26

Mountain pine beetle genome decoded

The genome of the mountain pine beetle – the insect that has devastated B.C.’s lodgepole pine forests – has been decoded by researchers at the University of British Columbia and Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre.

This is a first for the mountain pine beetle and only the second beetle genome ever sequenced. The first was the red flour beetle, a pest of stored grains. The genome is described in a study published Tuesday in the journal Genome Biology.

“We know a lot about what the beetles do,” says Christopher Keeling, a research associate in Prof. Joerg Bohlmann’s lab at the Michael Smith Laboratories. “But without the genome, we don’t know exactly how they do it.”