Body lice and head lice (Anoplura: Pediculidae) have the smallest genomes of any hemimetabolous insect reported to date

J. Spencer Johnston, Kyong Sup Yoon, Joseph P. Strycharz, Barry R. Pittendrigh, J. Marshall Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The human body louse, Pediculus humanus humanus L. (Anoplura: Pediculidae), is a vector of several diseases, including louse-borne epidemic typhus, relapsing fever, and trench fever, whereas the head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis De Geer (Anoplura: Pediculidae), is more a pest of social concern. Sequencing of the body louse genome has recently been proposed and undertaken by National Human Genome Research Institute. One of the first steps in understanding an organism's genome is to determine its genome size. Here, using flow cytometry determinations, we present evidence that body louse genome size is 104.7 ± 1.4 Mb for females and 108.3 ± 1.1 Mb for males. Our results suggest that head lice also have a small genome size, of similar size to the body louse. Thus, Pediculus lice have one of the smallest genome sizes known in insects, suggesting it may be a suitable choice as a minimal hemimetabolous genome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1009-1012
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of medical entomology
Volume44
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2007

Keywords

  • Hemimetabolous
  • Pediculus humanus capitis
  • Pediculus humanus humanus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary(all)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases

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