The western bean cutworm, Striacosta albicosta (Smith) (Leptidoptera: Noctuidae) is a pest of corn (Zea mays L.) and dry beans that underwent a dramatic range expansion in North America during the 1st decade of the 21st century. Research into the population genetics of this species has been hindered by a lack of genetic markers. The transcriptome of adult male S. albicosta was partially sequenced using Illumina sequencing-by-synthesis. Assembly of the sequence reads yielded 16,847 transcript sequences, of which 6,631 could be assigned a putative function. A search for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified 2,487 candidate SNPs distributed among 1,265 transcripts. A panel of 108 candidate SNPs was selected for empirical testing, of which 68 proved to be assayable polymorphisms that are suitable for population studies. This work provides significant genetic resources for studying S. albicosta and demonstrates the power of applying of second-generation sequencing to previously understudied species.
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Vol. 41 • No. 4