Molecular Biology and Genetics of the Lepidoptera

Marian R. Goldsmith, Frantisek Marec

September 1, 2009 by CRC Press
Reference - 368 Pages - 12 Color & 61 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781420060140 - CAT# 60147
Series: Contemporary Topics in Entomology


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  • Provides analysis and synthesis of cutting-edge research and phylogeny of leading models in Lepidoptera, the first comprehensive review in 12 years
  • Includes coverage of the genome of the economically valuable silkworm
  • Summarizes recent knowledge on sex chromosomes and sex determination in Lepidoptera
  • Describes evolutionary and developmental genetics of butterfly wings and eyes
  • Examines the molecular genetics of circadian clocks, chemoreceptors, sexual communication, host range, and insecticide resistance
  • Contains discussions of whole genome sequencing, EST, and linkage mapping
  • Covers immune response, toxins, and viruses
  • Explores the latest strategies and fundamental studies needed to devise new eco-friendly methods of pest control


Numerous and charismatic, the Lepidoptera is one of the most widely studied groups of invertebrates. Advances in molecular tools and genomic techniques have reduced the need for large sizes and mass-rearing, and lepidopteran model systems are increasingly used to illuminate broad-based experimental questions as well as those peculiar to butterflies and moths. Molecular Biology and Genetics of the Lepidoptera presents a wide-ranging collection of studies on the Lepidoptera, treating them as specialized insects with distinctive features and as model systems for carrying out cutting-edge research. Leading researchers provide an evolutionary framework for placing moths and butterflies on the Tree of Life.

The book covers progress in deciphering the silkworm genome and unraveling lepidopteran sex chromosomes. It features new information on sex determination, evolution, and the development of butterfly wing patterns, eyes, vision, circadian clocks, chemoreceptors, and sexual communication. The contributors discuss the genetics and molecular biology of plant host range and prospects for controlling the major crop pest genus Helicoverpa. They also explore the rise of insecticide resistance, the innate immune response, lepidopteran minihosts for testing human pathogens and antibiotics, and the use of intrahemocoelic toxins for control. The book concludes with coverage of polyDNA virus-carrying parasitoid wasps, and the cloning of the first virus resistance gene in the silkworm.

Understanding the biology and genetics of butterflies and moths may lead to new species-selective methods of control, saving billions of dollars in pesticide use and protecting environmental and human health—making the sections on strategies for pest management extremely important. This book will open up new paths to the research literature for a broad audience, including entomologists, evolutionary and systematic biologists, geneticists, physiologists, biochemists, and molecular biologists.

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