▪ Abstract 

We review progress in applying molecular genetic and genomic technologies to studies in the domesticated silkworm, , highlighting its use as a model for Lepidoptera, and in sericulture and biotechnology. Dense molecular linkage maps are being integrated with classical linkage maps for positional cloning and marker-assisted selection. Classical mutations have been identified by a candidate gene approach. Cytogenetic and sequence analyses show that the W chromosome is composed largely of nested full-length long terminal repeat retrotransposons. Z-chromosome-linked sequences show a lack of dosage compensation. The downstream sex differentiation mechanism has been studied via the silkworm homolog of . Expressed sequence tagged databases have been used to discover Lepidoptera-specific genes, provide evidence for horizontal gene transfer, and construct microarrays. Physical maps using large-fragment bacterial artificial chromosome libraries have been constructed, and whole-genome shotgun sequencing is underway. Germline transformation and transient expression systems are well established and available for functional studies, high-level protein expression, and gene silencing via RNA interference.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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