Black Soldier Fly Genome Sequences

Genomes for two more black soldier fly populations have been sequenced. This will be useful for genetic research and for quality control of captive strains used in mass production.

Cai, Z., Hansen, L.S., Laursen, S.F., Nielsen, H.M., Bahrndorff, S., Tomberlin, J.K., Kristensen, T.N., Sørensen, J.G. and Sahana, G., 2024. Whole-genome sequencing of two captive black soldier fly populations: Implications for commercial production. Genomics, 110891.

Black soldier fly (BSF; Hermetia illucens) is a promising insect species for food and feed production as its larvae can convert different organic waste to high-value protein. Selective breeding is one way to optimize production, but the potential of breeding is only starting to be explored and not yet utilized for BSF. To assist in monitoring a captive population and implementing a breeding program, genomics tools are imperative. We conducted whole genome sequencing of two captive populations separated by geographical distance - Denmark (DK) and Texas, USA (TX). Various population genetics analyses revealed a moderate genetic differentiation between two populations. Moreover, we observed higher inbreeding in the DK population, and the detection of a subpopulation within DK population aligned well with the recent foundation of the DK population from two captive populations. Additionally, we generated gene ontology annotation and variants annotation for wider potential applications. Our findings establish a robust marker set for research in population genetics, facilitating the monitoring of inbreeding and laying the groundwork for practical breeding programs for BSF.