Genomic Approaches to Uncovering the Coevolutionary History of Parasitic Lice

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Next-generation sequencing technologies are revolutionizing the fields of genomics, phylogenetics, and population genetics. These new genomic approaches have been extensively applied to a major group of parasites, the lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera) of birds and mammals. Two louse genomes have been assembled and annotated to date, and these have opened up new resources for the study of louse biology. Whole genome sequencing has been used to assemble large phylogenomic datasets for lice, incorporating sequences of thousands of genes. These datasets have provided highly supported trees at all taxonomic levels, ranging from relationships among the major groups of lice to those among closely related species. Such approaches have also been applied at the population scale in lice, revealing patterns of population subdivision and inbreeding. Finally, whole genome sequence datasets can also be used for additional study beyond that of the louse nuclear genome, such as in the study of mitochondrial genome fragmentation or endosymbiont function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1442
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Phthiraptera
  • cryptic species
  • endosymbionts
  • mitochondrial genomes
  • phylogenomics
  • population genomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Palaeontology
  • Space and Planetary Science


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