Mapping The Asian Giant Hornet’s Genome

Mapping The Asian Giant Hornet’s Genome

Ranging from 1.5 to 2 inches long, the Vespa mandarinia—commonly known as the Asian giant hornet—is the largest wasp in the world. Though its native range extends from northern India to East Asia, the hornet recently made landfall in Washington State and is classified as an invasive species in the United States. The Asian giant hornet is an agricultural concern because it preys upon domestic honey bees and has no natural predators here.

To prevent the invasive species from becoming established in the United States, ARS researchers with the Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, MD, helped lead the mapping of the first complete genome of the Asian giant hornet, as part of ARS’s Ag100Pest Initiative to assemble genomes for the top arthropod pests in this country. Working from just a single hornet’s thorax as a base sample, ARS entomologists and DNA sequence experts produced the entire sequence in just 3 months, demonstrating that genome sequencing can be part of real-time responses to invasive species. With the information from the released reference genome, scientists now have a broader biological picture of the hornet and can develop better tactics against it.

  • ARS research entomologist Matt Buffington discusses the Asian giant hornets.

  • Slow motion of three hawking Asian hornets, one catches bee.

Explore Other Discoveries

Sweet, Juicy, Flavorful Berries

ARS researchers released two new varieties of blackberry: ‘Twilight’ and ‘Hall’s Beauty.’

Read More
Keepsake Strawberry Is A Keeper

ARS scientists developed a new midseason, spring-bearing, or short-day strawberry cultivar, Keepsake.

Read More
Helping Honey Bee Colonies Chill Out

Putting honey bees into indoor cold storage in October increases their chances of surviving the winter.

Read More
Using Canines to Detect Citrus Virus

Scientists are using dogs to sniff out citrus orchards for the devastating pathogen HBL, also known as Citrus Greening.

Read More
Spotted Lanternfly Genome Sequenced

A team of ARS scientists in cooperation with Pacific Biosciences published the first genome of the invasive spotted lanternfly.

Read More
Preventing Soil Nutrient Leaching

Researchers determined two cover crops are effective in reducing excess nitrogen and preventing its escape from farmland.

Read More