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Ag100Pest Initiative Working Group

As a subgroup of the Arthropod Genomics Research Working Group, the Ag100Pest Initiative’s goal is to produce annotated, reference quality genome assemblies for the top 100 US arthropod agricultural pests by leveraging ARS’s unique expertise in both arthropod pest management and agricultural genomics research. We are pushing the limits of current technology to produce long-read sequencing data from individual specimens, despite the challenges of small body sizes, and sometimes large genomes, presented by arthropods. Arthropod pests of US field crops, livestock, bees, trees, and stored products as well as foreign pest species considered potential invasive threats to US agriculture are being considered.

Ag100Pest teams are developing best practices in many arenas from process and data management to extraction, sequencing, assembly, and annotation that will benefit the entire genomics community. As an example, we collaborated in the development of an open-source functional annotation workflow specifically tailored to arthropods, which users can find installed on Ceres or available through CyVerse, Docker, and GitHub.

This initiative enhances the agency’s contribution to two international genome sequencing projects – i5K (the 5000 insect genomes initiative) and the Earth BioGenome Project (to sequence the genomes of all of the world’s 1.5 million animals and plants).

Executive Coordination Team Role
Anna Childers Project Lead
Brian Scheffler Technical Lead
Kevin Hackett National Program Leader
Core Leadership Group Role
Brad Coates Technology Transfer Team Lead
Scott Geib Extraction/Pre-Sequencing Team Lead
Brian Scheffler Sequencing Team Co-Lead
Tim Smith Sequencing Team Co-Lead
Anna Childers Assembly and Analysis Team Lead
Monica Poelchau Post-Assembly Team Co-Lead
Chris Childers Post-Assembly Team Co-Lead
Kevin Hackett National Program Leader

Please contact a member of the Executive Coordination Team for more information.