Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 May 2011
Soybean aphid, Aphis glycines Matsumura (Hemiptera: Aphididae), is currently the most important insect pest of soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) in the United States and causes significant economic damage worldwide, but little is known about the aphid at the molecular level. Mariner-like transposable elements (MLEs) are ubiquitous within the genomes of arthropods and various other invertebrates. In this study, we report the cloning of MLEs from the soybean aphid genome using degenerate PCR primers designed to amplify conserved regions of mariner transposases. Two of the ten sequenced clones (designated as Agmar1 and Agmar2) contained partial but continuous open reading frames, which shared high levels of homology at the protein level with other mariner transposases from insects and other taxa. Phylogenetic analysis revealed Agmar1 to group within the irritans subfamily of MLEs and Agmar2 within the mellifera subfamily. Southern blot analysis and quantitative PCR analysis indicated a low copy number for Agmar1-like elements within the soybean aphid genome. These results suggest the presence of at least two different putative mariner-like transposases encoded by the soybean aphid genome. Both Agmar1 and Agmar2 could play influential roles in the architecture of the soybean aphid genome. Transposable elements are also thought to potentially mediate resistance in insects through changes in gene amplification and mutations in coding sequences. Finally, Agmar1 and Agmar2 may represent useful genetic tools and provide insights on A. glycines adaptation.