When I learned about the Insect Genomics SIG, I knew that I should attend and get a feel for the field outside of the BINGO network and Wageningen. I had already sensed that I wasn’t the only one having problems with finding an optimal sequencing strategy, but what if there was another problem on the horizon? And perhaps other could learn from my own attempts with Nesidiocoris tenuis.
The plan for the Nesi genome project (“Nesi” is short for Nesidiocoris tenuis) has seen a lot of changes since I started on it in September 2015, as we learned more about the life history of the species as well as approached the limits of each sequencing strategy and assumptions of genome assembly. Initially, the plan was to inbreed Nesi for a hybrid de novo approach, but the difficulties in establishing Nesi here at Wageningen combined with its relatively long generation time meant that inbreeding was out of the question within the timeframe of my PhD. This was the first of a few roadblocks of the project. A year and a half later, I’m now able to appreciate that this is part of the process, but that doesn’t make it easier! This is the story that I took to the RES SIG on Insect Genomics.
While this wasn’t the first scientific conference I had attended, it was the first time that I would be presenting. I was very nervous, but in the end it went over very well and I was pleased to meet fellow researchers attempting similar feats to my own – working with non-model organisms in an ever-changing technical landscape of whole genome sequencing. I’ve since made the presentation available online, you can find it on the BINGO’s ResearchGate page or at Figshare.
After the meeting was the BINGO Summer School in Vienna, which Kelley Leung will cover more for the newsletter, and now I’m back in Wageningen. My project focuses on three different genomes, so the Nesi genome is only part of my work. Otherwise, I have Trichogramma material en route for PacBio sequencing, and am preparing for some MinION work for population-level surveys of Amblyseius swirskii. The goal now is prepare for my next presentation, to take place at the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB), taking place at Groningen in August. In between I’ll also have vacation, so not a moment to spare!