New genome size estimates of 134 species of arthropods. Academic Article uri icon


  • Insect genome size diversity remains poorly sampled, with sparse and sporadic sampling of a few select orders and with many orders unrepresented or underrepresented in the genome size database. Here, we present 134 genome size estimates for 18 orders, including the first ever genome size estimates for eight orders, 38 families, 102 genera, and 131 species. Also reported here are three insect species genome size estimates that are corrections for unpublished genome size values that made it into the literature, including the smallest arthropod genome of the two spot spider mite (1C = 91 Mb). These estimates range from 91 to 7,752 Mb and provide a broader picture of genome size variation within Insecta and among all Arthropods. Proposed developmental constraints for holometabolous insect genome sizes are supported, with the majority of the species examined falling well under the hypothesized 1,978 Mb (2 pg) limit. The only exceptions occur in the highly diverse beetles (Coleoptera) (154 < 1C < 2,578) and the Mecoptera (1,890 < 1C < 2,134). Hemimetabolous orders include species with larger genomes. Of these, the Orthopteran genomes remain the largest (675 < 1C < 7,752). Hemipteran genomes are smaller (407 < 1C < 1,230), but with a very notable exception, the Cicadidae family, with bloated genomes (5,238 < 1C < 7,000 Mb) of a size previously known to exist only within Orthoptera. The genome sizes in all other Hemimetabolous orders (521 Mb < 1C < 3,860 Mb) fall within the range exhibited by the Hemiptera. New preparations and procedures for insect genome estimates with frozen material are described and discussed. To further improve and extend the number and quality of arthropod genome size estimates, a new flow cytometry insect standard, Blattaria: Periplaneta americana♂ (1C = 3,338 Mb) is established for genome size determination of insect genomes in excess of 2,000 Mb.

published proceedings

  • Chromosome Res

altmetric score

  • 5.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Hanrahan, S. J., & Johnston, J. S.

citation count

  • 99

complete list of authors

  • Hanrahan, Shawn Jason||Johnston, J Spencer

publication date

  • August 2011