2013-03-27

Mountain pine beetle's genome decoded

The days of the mountain pine beetle gnawing, unchecked, through the forests of B.C. and north-central Alberta could be numbered, thanks to a microscopic breakthrough.

Scientists at the University of British Columbia and the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre have decoded the genome of the voracious pest, permitting the first crystal clear look at how the little beetle wreaks such tremendous havoc.

“We know a lot about what the beetles do,” says Christopher Keeling, a research associate at the Michael Smith Laboratories.