Open Access Research article

Identification, analysis, and linkage mapping of expressed sequence tags from the Australian sheep blowfly

Siu F Lee1*, Zhenzhong Chen1, Annette McGrath2, Robert T Good1 and Philip Batterham1

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research, Bio21 Institute, Genetics Department, University of Melbourne, 30 Flemington Road, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia

2 Australian Genome Research Facility, Level 5 Gehrmann Laboratories, University of Queensland, Research Road, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia

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BMC Genomics 2011, 12:406  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-406

Published: 10 August 2011



The Australian sheep blowfly Lucilia cuprina (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) is a destructive pest of the sheep, a model organism for insecticide resistance research, and a valuable tool for medical and forensic professionals. However, genomic information on L. cuprina is still sparse.


We report here the construction of an embryonic and 2 larval cDNA libraries for L. cuprina. A total of 29,816 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were obtained and assembled into 7,464 unique clusters. The sequence collection captures a great diversity of genes, including those related to insecticide resistance (e.g., 12 cytochrome P450s, 2 glutathione S transferases, and 6 esterases). Compared to Drosophila melanogaster, codon preference is different in 13 of the 18 amino acids encoded by redundant codons, reflecting the lower overall GC content in L. cuprina. In addition, we demonstrated that the ESTs could be converted into informative gene markers by capitalizing on the known gene structures in the model organism D. melanogaster. We successfully assigned 41 genes to their respective chromosomes in L. cuprina. The relative locations of these loci revealed high but incomplete chromosomal synteny between L. cuprina and D. melanogaster.


Our results represent the first major transcriptomic undertaking in L. cuprina. These new genetic resources could be useful for the blowfly and insect research community.