Improved reference genome of the arboviral vector Aedes albopictus.
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BACKGROUND: The Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus is globally expanding and has become the main vector for human arboviruses in Europe. With limited antiviral drugs and vaccines available, vector control is the primary approach to prevent mosquito-borne diseases. A reliable and accurate DNA sequence of the Ae. albopictus genome is essential to develop new approaches that involve genetic manipulation of mosquitoes. RESULTS: We use long-read sequencing methods and modern scaffolding techniques (PacBio, 10X, and Hi-C) to produce AalbF2, a dramatically improved assembly of the Ae. albopictus genome. AalbF2 reveals widespread viral insertions, novel microRNAs and piRNA clusters, the sex-determining locus, and new immunity genes, and enables genome-wide studies of geographically diverse Ae. albopictus populations and analyses of the developmental and stage-dependent network of expression data. Additionally, we build the first physical map for this species with 75% of the assembled genome anchored to the chromosomes. CONCLUSION: The AalbF2 genome assembly represents the most up-to-date collective knowledge of the Ae. albopictus genome. These resources represent a foundation to improve understanding of the adaptation potential and the epidemiological relevance of this species and foster the development of innovative control measures.