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Genome of voracious desert locust sequenced

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The first high-quality genome of the desert locust — those voracious feeders of plague and devastation infamy and the most destructive migratory insect in the world — has been produced. The genome of the desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) is enormous at just under 9 billion base pairs, nearly three times the size of the human genome. The size of the desert locust’s chromosomes is remarkable; compare them to those of the model fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, the first insect genome ever assembled. Many of the desert locust’s individual chromosomes are larger than the entire fruit fly genome. Next to the fruit fly, it’s like an 18-wheeler next to a compact car.


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