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The Hessian fly (HF, Mayetiola destructor) is a pest of wheat (Triticum spp.), and a member of a large dipteran family (the gall midges, Cecidomyiidae). Its genetics and behavior are representative of several other important plant-galling pests . The HF probably evolved with wheat in the Fertile Crescent. It was perhaps the first invasive insect pest in the United States .
HF adults do not feed and live for less than 3 days. Adult females mate only once and deposit 100 – 300 eggs between the lengths of wheat leaves . The small reddish embryos usually require 4 days to fully develop. Neonate first-instar larvae crawl down the leaf after hatching and settle under the leaves at the joints of the stem or the base of the seedling. There, they attack the epidermal cells of developing leaf tissue. HF larvae are plant-galling parasites. First-instar larvae induce the formation of plant nutritive tissue and alter plant development . The plant then becomes a nutritive sink that feeds the second-instar larvae. This transformation stunts plant development and reduces both grain quantity and grain quality . When larvae feed on wheat seedlings, the shoots they are directly feeding on eventually die and produce no grain. Third-instar larvae do not feed and pass the winter in diapause. HF control typically relies upon the cultivation of resistant wheat varieties, which carry one or more major dominant HF-resistance genes. The HF has a relatively small genome (~158 Mb) composed of two autosomes (A1 and A2) and two X chromosomes (X1 and X2) . Like other gall midges, HF cytogenetics and sex determination is characterized by chromosome imprinting and chromosome elimination events. Females are diploid for all four chromosomes (A1A2X1X2/A1A2X1X2) and males are diploid for the autosomes, but haploid for the X chromosomes (A1A2X1X2/A1A2OO). Polytene chromosomes are present in the larval salivary glands . Genetic recombination occurs only in females, and males transmit only their mother’s chromosomes to their offspring. Chromosome elimination during embryogenesis determines the sex of the embryo. Embryos that eliminate the paternally inherited X chromosomes develop as males. Embryos that retain the paternally inherited X chromosomes develop as females. Embryonic chromosome elimination is usually maternally controlled, and therefore, the offspring of individual females are either all female or all male. Investigations of the HF genome have focused on the HF-wheat interaction [7-9], the genetic response of the HF to HF-resistance genes in wheat [10-12], and the unusual cytogenetics of the insect .
1. Pauly, P.J., Fighting the Hessian fly: American and British responses to insect invasion; 1776-1789. Environ. Hist., 2002. 7(3): p. 485-507.
|Mayetiola destructor whole genome assembly v1||Baylor HGSC||Oct 18th, 2010|
|Mayetiola destructor official gene set (OGS1.0)||Maker 2.22 and manual curation||Aug 27th, 2014|
|Functional annotation of Mayetiola destructor OGS1.0||AgBase functional annotation pipeline||Jun 4th, 2022|