The pea aphid is a global insect pest, and variable phenotypes can be produced by pea aphids in the same genotype in response to changes in external environmental factors. However, detailed dynamic gene regulation networks and the core markers involved in different biological processes of pea aphids have not yet been reported. In this study, we obtained the published genomic and transcriptomic data, and performed transcriptome profiling of five pea aphid morphs (winged asexual female, wingless asexual female, wingless sexual female, winged male and wingless male) from each of three pea aphid genotypes, i.e., the transcriptomes from a total of 15 types of pea aphids were analyzed and the type-specific expression of genes in five different morphs was identified. The expression profiling was verified by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) analysis. Moreover, we determined the expression features and co-expression networks of highly variable genes. We also used the ARACNe method to obtain 263 core genes related to different biological pathways. Additionally, eight of the identified genes were aligned with transcription factor families, indicating that they act as transcription factors and regulate downstream genes. Furthermore, we found reliable markers using random forest methodology to distinguish different morphs of pea aphids. Our study provides a systematic and comprehensive approach for analyzing the core genes that may play important roles in a multitude of biological processes from the insect transcriptomes.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited