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Standardizing Lepidopteran Chromosomal Homology

During the 2018 International Workshop on Molecular Biology and Genetics of the Lepidoptera, a consensus emerged that it would be valuable to develop a standardized nomenclature for Lepidopteran chromosomes, analogous to the Muller elements found in Drosophila. There is now considerable evidence that the ancestral karyotype of Lepidoptera was comprised of 30 autosomes and a sex chromosome (Z). While some chromosomal fusion and fission has occurred, these same 31 chromosomal “units” have remained largely intact over the evolutionary diversification of moths and butterflies.  However, there is not currently a consistent nomenclature for referencing these “homology units”, and different naming/numbering systems have been applied in different taxa.


We would like to develop a standardized set of linked orthologs in Lepidoptera that will serve as a reference panel for defining and diagnosing these chromosomal “homology units” in a consistent way across taxa, much as the Muller elements serve in Drosophila.   Our aim is to do this using the currently available genome assemblies that provide chromosomal-linkage information.


From this website, we are seeking to “crowdsource” the available genome assemblies that include chromosomal linkage information for the majority of predicted genes. If you have produced or are otherwise aware of relevant datasets, please submit them to our list using the links below.



Click this link to view the current list of suggested taxa.



To suggest another species with a chromosomal-level assembly that can be included in the analysis, please submit information using this web-form.


Submissions which duplicate taxa but point to additional/alternative resources are welcome!


Thanks very much for your help,


Jamie Walters, University of Kansas

Richard ffrench-Constant, University of Exeter

Simon Martin, Cambridge University

Robert Waterhouse, Universite de Lausanne

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