The Medfly is an important agricultural pest worldwide and is the target of extensive control programmes. We have initiated a gene discovery project to provide information on the expression and regulation of the genome and to identify genes which may be harnessed for novel control strategies. To this end, we have created expressed sequence tags (ESTs) and oligonucleotide microarrays for the medfly embryo and adult head. Over 24,000 cDNA clones were partially sequenced from two normalised cDNA libraries resulting in more than 20,000 high quality ESTs with an average length of 700 bp. After assembly, the embryo sequences gave rise to a total of 5201 putative transcripts. BLASTX analyses against the non-redundant (nr) protein database resulted in best-hits (e less than 10-5) in 75% of the assembled sequences. The majority of the best-hits were against arthropod sequences (97%) and in particular Drosophila species (90%). The medfly ESTs were annotated with respect to D. melanogaster. Almost 52% (2699) of the embryonic assembled sequences were assigned a Gene Ontology (GO) classification based on the annotation of the best hit D. melanogaster peptide obtained in BLASTX searches. The embryo ESTs represent a broad range of molecular functions and biological processes. Oligonucleotide microarrays have been constructed to represent over 12,000 embryo and head EST cDNA clones. Gene expression assays are currently in progress to identify genes (developmental / behavioral) that may represent potential targets for the control of this agricultural pest species.
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