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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Copy number variations among silkworms

Qian Zhao, Min-Jin Han, Wei Sun and Ze Zhang*

Author Affiliations

Laboratory of Evolutionary and Functional Genomics, School of Life Sciences, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400044, China

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:251  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-251

Published: 31 March 2014



Copy number variations (CNVs), which are important source for genetic and phenotypic variation, have been shown to be associated with disease as well as important QTLs, especially in domesticated animals. However, little is known about the CNVs in silkworm.


In this study, we have constructed the first CNVs map based on genome-wide analysis of CNVs in domesticated silkworm. Using next-generation sequencing as well as quantitative PCR (qPCR), we identified ~319 CNVs in total and almost half of them (~ 49%) were distributed on uncharacterized chromosome. The CNVs covered 10.8 Mb, which is about 2.3% of the entire silkworm genome. Furthermore, approximately 61% of CNVs directly overlapped with SDs in silkworm. The genes in CNVs are mainly related to reproduction, immunity, detoxification and signal recognition, which is consistent with the observations in mammals.


An initial CNVs map for silkworm has been described in this study. And this map provides new information for genetic variations in silkworm. Furthermore, the silkworm CNVs may play important roles in reproduction, immunity, detoxification and signal recognition. This study provided insight into the evolution of the silkworm genome and an invaluable resource for insect genomics research.