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This Week in Genome Biology: Jan 30, 2014

In Genome Biology, researchers from China, the UK, and elsewhere sequenced the genome of the fig wasp, an obligate symbiont, that also pollinates the fig plant. The team sampled genomic DNA over time from fig-pollinating Ceratosolen solmsi wasps following inoculation of three fig trees in China, generating sequences that were used to assemble a fig wasp genome. Together with transcriptome sequence data from male and female wasps at different developmental stages, the new genome offered insights into fig wasp biology and the adaptations that have occurred as its lifestyle became intertwined with that of the fig plant.

An international team led by investigators in the US, China, and the UK report on findings from an effort to sequence the genome of the halictid bee, Lasioglossum albipes, a species known for its variable social behavior. After sequencing and assembling nearly 351 million bases of the halictid bee genome using DNA from two haploid male bees from a Swiss population, the researchers re-sequenced two female halictid bees, one from a solitary population and one from a social population. By comparing these sequences with one another and with those from other insects, the group gained insights into the biology and evolution of the bees and their behavior.

A look at light-regulated alternative splicing in the moss species called Physcomitrella patens is in another Genome Biology study. Researchers from Taiwan's Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology performed RNA sequencing on samples from P. patens moss exposed to different light conditions to look at splicing events in the moss that are prompted by light. For instance, their results suggest that the introns of photosynthesis and translation-related genes tend to be retained in the presence of light, while genes with light signaling and splicing roles are prone to alternative transcript production. "Our results indicate that intensive alternative splicing occurs in non-vascular plants," the study's authors write, "and that, during photomorphogenesis, light regulates alternative splicing with transcript selectivity."