PLoS One.: co-auth.: R.Benton

 2019 Dec 23;14(12):e0226485. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0226485. eCollection 2019.

A partial genome assembly of the miniature parasitoid wasp, Megaphragma amalphitanum.


Body size reduction, also known as miniaturization, is an important evolutionary process that affects a number of physiological and phenotypic traits and helps animals conquer new ecological niches. However, this process is poorly understood at the molecular level. Here, we report genomic and transcriptomic features of arguably the smallest known insect-the parasitoid wasp, Megaphragma amalphitanum (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae). In contrast to expectations, we find that the genome and transcriptome sizes of this parasitoid wasp are comparable to other members of the Chalcidoidea superfamily. Moreover, compared to other chalcid wasps the gene content of M. amalphitanum is remarkably conserved. Intriguingly, we observed significant changes in M. amalphitanum transposable element dynamics over time, in which an initial burst was followed by suppression of activity, possibly due to a recent reinforcement of the genome defense machinery. Overall, while the M. amalphitanum genomic data reveal certain features that may be linked to the unusual biological properties of this organism, miniaturization is not associated with a large decrease in genome complexity.

PMID: 31869362