Background: The oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis, is an important pest of fruit and vegetable crops throughout Asia, and is considered a high risk pest for establishment in the mainland United States. It is a member of the family Tephritidae, which are the most agriculturally important family of flies, and can be considered an out-group to well-studied members of the family Drosophilidae. Despite their importance as pests and their relatedness to Drosophila, little information is present on B. dorsalis transcripts and proteins. The objective of this paper is to comprehensively characterize the transcripts present throughout the life history of B. dorsalis and functionally annotate and analyse these transcripts relative to the presence, expression, and function of orthologous sequences present in Drosophila melanogaster. Results: We present a detailed transcriptome assembly of B. dorsalis from egg through adult stages containing 20,666 transcripts across 10,799 unigene components. Utilizing data available through Flybase and the modENCODE project, we compared expression patterns of these transcripts to putative orthologs in D. melanogaster in terms of timing, abundance, and function. In addition, temporal expression patterns in B. dorsalis were characterized between stages, to establish the constitutive or stage-specific expression patterns of particular transcripts. A fully annotated transcriptome assembly is made available through NCBI, in addition to corresponding expression data. Conclusions: Through characterizing the transcriptome of B. dorsalis through its life history and comparing the transcriptome of B. dorsalis to the model organism D. melanogaster, a database has been developed that can be used as the foundation to functional genomic research in Bactrocera flies and help identify orthologous genes between B. dorsalis and D. melanogaster. This data provides the foundation for future functional genomic research that will focus on improving our understanding of the physiology and biology of this species at the molecular level. This knowledge can also be applied towards developing improved methods for control, survey, and eradication of this important pest.
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