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‘Not a Fruit Fly, Not a Beetle’

Researchers have sequenced the genome of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum, and have reported their findings in PLoS Biology this week. The International Aphid Genomics Consortium writes that the pea aphid genome appears to have more coding genes than previously sequenced insects, but a precise gene count and further functional annotation of the genome is needed. Stephen Richards, assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine, said in a statement that “because this is a different kind of insect ― not a fruit fly, not a beetle, not a hymenoptera ― we are seeing things that people have not seen in other projects.” The pea aphid is one of approximately 5,000 aphid species.