Identification and Characterization of MicroRNAs in Gonads of Helicoverpa armigera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)
School of Agricultural Sciences, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou 450001, China
School of Life Sciences, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou 450001, China
USDA-ARS, Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit, Tifton Campus, University of Georgia, Tifton, GA 31793, USA
Department of Entomology and BIO5 Institute, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
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Academic Editors: Laura Sirot and Ferdinand Nanfack Minkeu
Received: 28 July 2021 / Revised: 12 August 2021 / Accepted: 17 August 2021 / Published: 19 August 2021
For most insects, the development of the testis and ovary directly determines their reproductive ability. The cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner), is a polyphagous crop pest of the Lepidoptera Noctuidae. Owing to its broad range of host plants and strong fertility, H. armigera causes huge economic losses to agricultural production. Acting as a type of post-transcriptional regulatory factor, miRNAs participate in the gonadal development and reproductive regulation of H. arimgera. Our study uses H. armigera as a research object to identify and characterize the miRNAs and study their potential functions in the testis and ovary of this destructive crop pest. A total of 7,592,150 and 8,815,237 clean reads were obtained by constructing small RNA libraries of the testis and ovary, respectively. Length distribution analysis showed that the main types of small RNAs in the testis and ovary were different. Among the 74 known miRNAs, 60 miRNAs existed in the ovary, and 72 existed in the testis. Gene Ontology (GO) and KEGG pathway analyses indicated that the 8 gonad-biased differentially expressed miRNAs (miR-989a, miR-263-5p, miR-34, miR-2763, miR-998, miR-2c, miR-2765, and miR-252a-5p) had many target transcripts involved in the reproduction process.