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Early Progress in Aphid Genomics and Consequences for Plant--Aphid Interactions Studies

June 2008 , Volume 21 , Number  6
Pages  701 - 708

Denis Tagu,1 John P. Klingler,2 Andrès Moya,3 and Jean-Christophe Simon1

1INRA Rennes, UMR BiO3P, INRA, Agrocampus Rennes, Université Rennes 1, Biologie des Organismes et des Populations Appliquées à la Protection des Plantes, BP 35327, F-35653 Le Rheu Cedex, France; 2Department of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721, U.S.A.; 3Institut Cavanilles de Biodiversitat i Biologia Evolutiva (I.C.B.I.B.E.), Universitat de Valencia, Apartado de Correos 2085, 46071 Valencia, Spain

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Accepted 26 February 2008.

Aphids occupy a niche comprising two conceptual realms: a micron-scale feeding site beneath the plant surface, in which a syringe-like appendage mediates chemical exchange with a specific plant cell type; and the larger realm of a metazoan with sensory organs, a nervous system, and behavior, all responsive to the condition of the host plant and the broader environment. The biology that connects these realms is not well understood, but new details are emerging with the help of genomic tools. The power of these tools is set to increase substantially now that the first genome of an aphid is being sequenced and annotated. This has been possible because a community of aphid researchers focused their efforts to develop and share genomic resources through an international consortium. This complete genome sequence, along with other resources, should permit major advances in understanding the complex and peculiar biological traits responsible for aphids' evolutionary success and their damaging effects on agriculture. This review highlights early progress in the application of aphid genomics and identifies key issues of plant--aphid interactions likely to benefit as molecular tools are further developed. Use of this new knowledge could make significant contributions to crop protection against these and other phloem-feeding insects.

Additional keywords:Acyrthosiphon pisum, parthenogenesis, phenotypic plasticity, resistance, symbiont, virus

© 2008 The American Phytopathological Society