The whole genome sequence of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), reveals insights into the biology and adaptive evolution of a highly invasive pest species

Alexie Papanicolaou, Marc F. Schetelig, Peter Arensburger, Peter W. Atkinson, Joshua B. Benoit, Kostas Bourtzis, Pedro Castañera, John P. Cavanaugh, Hsu Chao, Christopher Childers, Ingrid Curril, Huyen Dinh, Harsha Vardhan Doddapaneni, Amanda Dolan, Shannon Dugan, Markus Friedrich, Giuliano Gasperi, Scott Geib, Georgios Georgakilas, Richard A. GibbsSarah D. Giers, Ludvik M. Gomulski, Miguel González-Guzmán, Ana Guillem-Amat, Yi Han, Artemis G. Hatzigeorgiou, Pedro Hernández-Crespo, Daniel S.T. Hughes, Jeffery W. Jones, Dimitra Karagkouni, Panagiota Koskinioti, Sandra L. Lee, Anna R. Malacrida, Mosè Manni, Kostas Mathiopoulos, Angela Meccariello, Shwetha C. Murali, Terence D. Murphy, Donna M. Muzny, Georg Oberhofer, Félix Ortego, Maria D. Paraskevopoulou, Monica Poelchau, Jiaxin Qu, Martin Reczko, Hugh M. Robertson, Andrew J. Rosendale, Andrew E. Rosselot, Giuseppe Saccone, Marco Salvemini, Grazia Savini, Patrick Schreiner, Francesca Scolari, Paolo Siciliano, Sheina B. Sim, George Tsiamis, Enric Ureña, Ioannis S. Vlachos, John H. Werren, Ernst A. Wimmer, Kim C. Worley, Antigone Zacharopoulou, Stephen Richards, Alfred M. Handler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly), Ceratitis capitata, is a major destructive insect pest due to its broad host range, which includes hundreds of fruits and vegetables. It exhibits a unique ability to invade and adapt to ecological niches throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world, though medfly infestations have been prevented and controlled by the sterile insect technique (SIT) as part of integrated pest management programs (IPMs). The genetic analysis and manipulation of medfly has been subject to intensive study in an effort to improve SIT efficacy and other aspects of IPM control. Results: The 479 Mb medfly genome is sequenced from adult flies from lines inbred for 20 generations. A high-quality assembly is achieved having a contig N50 of 45.7 kb and scaffold N50 of 4.06 Mb. In-depth curation of more than 1800 messenger RNAs shows specific gene expansions that can be related to invasiveness and host adaptation, including gene families for chemoreception, toxin and insecticide metabolism, cuticle proteins, opsins, and aquaporins. We identify genes relevant to IPM control, including those required to improve SIT. Conclusions: The medfly genome sequence provides critical insights into the biology of one of the most serious and widespread agricultural pests. This knowledge should significantly advance the means of controlling the size and invasive potential of medfly populations. Its close relationship to Drosophila, and other insect species important to agriculture and human health, will further comparative functional and structural studies of insect genomes that should broaden our understanding of gene family evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number192
JournalGenome biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 22 2016


  • Chromosomal synteny
  • Gene family evolution
  • Insect adaptation
  • Insect invasiveness
  • Insect orthology
  • Medfly genome
  • Medfly integrated pest management (IPM)
  • Tephritid genomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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