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  1. null (Ed.)
  2. Insect silk is a versatile biomaterial. Lepidoptera and Trichoptera display some of the most diverse uses of silk, with varying strength, adhesive qualities, and elastic properties. Silk fibroin genes are long (>20 Kbp), with many repetitive motifs that make them challenging to sequence. Most research thus far has focused on conserved N- and C-terminal regions of fibroin genes because a full comparison of repetitive regions across taxa has not been possible. Using the PacBio Sequel II system and SMRT sequencing, we generated high fidelity (HiFi) long-read genomic and transcriptomic sequences for the Indianmeal moth (Plodia interpunctella) and genomic sequences for the caddisfly Eubasilissa regina. Both genomes were highly contiguous (N50  = 9.7 Mbp/32.4 Mbp, L50  = 13/11) and complete (BUSCO complete  = 99.3%/95.2%), with complete and contiguous recovery of silk heavy fibroin gene sequences. We show that HiFi long-read sequencing is helpful for understanding genes with long, repetitive regions. 
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  3. Abstract

    The owlet moths (Noctuoidea; ~43–45K described species) are one of the most ecologically diverse and speciose superfamilies of animals. Moreover, they comprise some of the world's most notorious pests of agriculture and forestry. Despite their contributions to terrestrial biodiversity and impacts on ecosystems and economies, the evolutionary history of Noctuoidea remains unclear because the superfamily lacks a statistically robust phylogenetic and temporal framework. We reconstructed the phylogeny of Noctuoidea using data from 1234 genes (946.4 kb nucleotides) obtained from the genome and transcriptome sequences of 76 species. The relationships among the six families of Noctuoidea were well resolved and consistently recovered based on both concatenation and gene coalescence approaches, supporting the following relationships: Oenosandridae + (Notodontidae + (Erebidae + (Nolidae + (Euteliidae + Noctuidae)))). A Yule tree prior with three unlinked molecular clocks was identified as the preferred BEAST analysis using marginal‐likelihood estimations. The crown age of Noctuoidea was estimated at 74.5 Ma, with most families originating before the end of the Paleogene (23 Ma). Our study provides the first statistically robust phylogenetic and temporal framework for Noctuoidea, including all families of owlet moths, based on large‐scale genomic data.

     
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  4. Abstract

    The sky islands of southeastern Arizona (AZ) mark a major transition zone between tropical and temperate biota and are considered a neglected biodiversity hotspot. Dispersal ability and host plant specificity are thought to impact the history and diversity of insect populations across the sky islands. We aimed to investigate the population structure and phylogeography of two pine‐feeding pierid butterflies, the pine white (Neophasia menapia) and the Mexican pine white (Neophasia terlooii), restricted to these “islands” at this transition zone. Given their dependence on pines as the larval hosts, we hypothesized that habitat connectivity affects population structure and is at least in part responsible for their allopatry. We sampled DNA from freshly collected butterflies from 17 sites in the sky islands and adjacent high‐elevation habitats and sequenced these samples using ddRADSeq. Up to 15,399 SNPs were discovered and analyzed in population genetic and phylogenetic contexts with Stacks and pyRAD pipelines. Low genetic differentiation inN. menapiasuggests that it is panmictic. Conversely, there is strong evidence for population structure withinN. terlooii. Each sky island likely contains a population ofN. terlooii, and clustering is hierarchical, with populations on proximal mountains being more related to each other. TheN. menapiahabitat, which is largely contiguous, facilitates panmixia, while theN. terlooiihabitat, restricted to the higher elevations on each sky island, creates distinct population structure. Phylogenetic results corroborate those from population genetic analyses. The historical climate‐driven fluxes in forest habitat connectivity have implications for understanding the biodiversity of fragmented habitats.

     
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