The larvae of the order Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) produce silk in various processes including the construction of protective tunnels, pupation cocoons, and escape lines. With over 180,000 species, Lepidoptera is one of the most species diverse orders of insects and it is believed that the diversity of species is mirrored in the gene structure for the major component of silk, heavy chain fibroin (h-fibroin). Despite variation across the order, two features of h-fibroin are conserved: it is extremely long and highly repetitive; a challenge for sequencing technology that has only recently been overcome. Through high-quality, long-read sequencing by large consortia, such as the Darwin Tree of Life project, a plethora of new Lepidoptera genomes have been made available to the public. Of these available genomes, 23 families are represented, spanning more than 14 superfamilies. Here, I selected one species from each family to perform an in-depth analysis of h-fibroin to generate a birds-eye view of the evolutionary history and composition of this important silk gene.
University / Institution: Brigham Young University
Format: In Person
SESSION C (1:45-3:15PM)
Area of Research: Science & Technology
Faculty Mentor: Paul Frandsen
Location: Union Building, SALTAIR ROOM (2:25pm)