Draft Genome of Busseola fusca, the Maize Stalk Borer, a Major Crop Pest in Sub-Saharan Africa
The maize stalk borer, Busseola fusca, is an important Lepidopteran pest of cereal crops in Central, East, and Southern Africa. Crop losses due to B. fusca feeding activity vary by region, but can result in total crop loss in areas with high levels of infestation. Genomic resources provide critical insight into the biology of pest species and can allow for the development of effective management tools and strategies to mitigate their impact on agriculture. To this end, we sequenced, assembled, and annotated the genome of B. fusca. The total assembled genome size was 492.9 Mb with 19,417 annotated protein-coding genes. Using a comparative approach, we identified a putative expansion in the Chorion gene family, which is involved in the formation of the egg shell structure. Our analysis revealed high repeat content within the B. fusca genome, with LTR sequences comprising the majority of the repetitive sequence. We hope genomic resources will provide a foundation for future work aimed at developing an integrated pest management strategy to reduce B. fusca’s impact on food security.