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J Insect Sci. 2003;3:23. Epub 2003 Jul 31.

Aphid biology: expressed genes from alate Toxoptera citricida, the brown citrus aphid.

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  • 1United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory, Fort Pierce, Florida, USA. whunter@ushrl.ars.usda.gov


The brown citrus aphid, Toxoptera citricida (Kirkaldy), is considered the primary vector of citrus tristeza virus, a severe pathogen which causes losses to citrus industries worldwide. The alate (winged) form of this aphid can readily fly long distances with the wind, thus spreading citrus tristeza virus in citrus growing regions. To better understand the biology of the brown citrus aphid and the emergence of genes expressed during wing development, we undertook a large-scale 5' end sequencing project of cDNA clones from alate aphids. Similar large-scale expressed sequence tag (EST) sequencing projects from other insects have provided a vehicle for answering biological questions relating to development and physiology. Although there is a growing database in GenBank of ESTs from insects, most are from Drosophila melanogaster and Anopheles gambiae, with relatively few specifically derived from aphids. However, important morphogenetic processes are exclusively associated with piercing-sucking insect development and sap feeding insect metabolism. In this paper, we describe the first public data set of ESTs from the brown citrus aphid, T. citricida. The cDNA library was derived from alate adults due to their significance in spreading viruses (e.g., citrus tristeza virus). Over 5180 cDNA clones were sequenced, resulting in 4263 high-quality ESTs. Contig alignment of these ESTs resulted in 2124 total assembled sequences, including both contiguous sequences and singlets. Approximately 33% of the ESTs currently have no significant match in either the non-redundant protein or nucleic acid databases. Sequences returning matches with an E-value of < or = -10 using BLASTX, BLASTN, or TBLASTX were annotated based on their putative molecular function and biological process using the Gene Ontology classification system. These data will aid research efforts in the identification of important genes within insects, specifically aphids and other sap feeding insects within the Order Hemiptera.

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