Behaviour 2019
Finding Phototransduction Genes in the Butterfly Heliconius charitonia
Angelica Lara, Adriana D Briscoe, Dylan Rainbow, Mahul Chakraborty, J.J Emerson. University of California, Irvine, CA, United States

The phototransduction genes of Heliconius charithonia are largely unexplored but are of interest because the visual system of adult H. charitonia is sexually dimorphic. Using a reference genome newly produced using PacBio sequencing, phototransduction genes of H. charithonia were identified. 76 known amino acid sequences for phototransduction genes of Drosophila melanogaster were used as query sequences in BLAST searches against the H. charithonia transcriptome, unveiling conserved and novel orthologs. The location of these transcripts was visualized in the genome to help discover annotation errors of the automated annotation pipeline and to help in explaining any discrepancies between the genome and the transcriptome. The majority of the phototransduction transcripts in H. charithonia were homologous to those of D. melanogaster.  Findings included identifying 8 duplicated H. charitonia genes, 21 genes with partially and/or completely missing exons and 8 genes in the genome missed by pipeline. Manual annotation revealed the presence of "missing" genetic information highlighting the importance of manual annotation while also revealing the shortcoming of automated pipelines.