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  1. Abstract

    The parasitoid wasp Venturia canescens is an important biological control agent of stored products moth pests and serves as a model to study the function and evolution of domesticated endogenous viruses (DEVs). The DEVs discovered in V. canescens are known as virus-like particles (VcVLPs), which are produced using nudivirus-derived components and incorporate wasp-derived virulence proteins instead of packaged nucleic acids. Previous studies of virus-derived components in the V. canescens genome identified 53 nudivirus-like genes organized in six gene clusters and several viral pseudogenes, but how VcVLP genes are organized among wasp chromosomes following their integration in the ancestral wasp genome is largely unknown. Here, we present a chromosomal scale genome of V. canescens consisting of 11 chromosomes and 56 unplaced small scaffolds. The genome size is 290.8 Mbp with a N50 scaffold size of 24.99 Mbp. A high-quality gene set including 11,831 protein-coding genes were produced using RNA-Seq data as well as publicly available peptide sequences from related Hymenoptera. A manual annotation of genes of viral origin produced 61 intact and 19 pseudogenized nudivirus-derived genes. The genome assembly revealed that two previously identified clusters were joined into a single cluster and a total of 5 gene clusters comprising of 60 intact nudivirus-derived genes were located in three chromosomes. In contrast, pseudogenes are dispersed among 8 chromosomes with only 4 pseudogenes associated with nudivirus gene clusters. The architecture of genes encoding VcVLP components suggests it originates from a recent virus acquisition and there is a link between the processes of dispersal and pseudogenization. This high-quality genome assembly and annotation represents the first chromosome-scale assembly for parasitoid wasps associated with VLPs, and is publicly available in the National Center for Biotechnology Information Genome and RefSeq databases, providing a valuable resource for future studies of DEVs in parasitoid wasps.

     
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  2. null (Ed.)
    The phylum Arthropoda includes species crucial for ecosystem stability, soil health, crop production, and others that present obstacles to crop and animal agriculture. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service initiated the Ag100Pest Initiative to generate reference genome assemblies of arthropods that are (or may become) pests to agricultural production and global food security. We describe the project goals, process, status, and future. The first three years of the project were focused on species selection, specimen collection, and the construction of lab and bioinformatics pipelines for the efficient production of assemblies at scale. Contig-level assemblies of 47 species are presented, all of which were generated from single specimens. Lessons learned and optimizations leading to the current pipeline are discussed. The project name implies a target of 100 species, but the efficiencies gained during the project have supported an expansion of the original goal and a total of 158 species are currently in the pipeline. We anticipate that the processes described in the paper will help other arthropod research groups or other consortia considering genome assembly at scale. 
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