Putting hornets on the genomic map

Emeline Favreau, Alessandro Cini, Daisy Taylor, Francisco Câmara Ferreira, Michael A. Bentley, Federico Cappa, Rita Cervo, Eyal Privman, Jadesada Schneider, Denis Thiéry, Rahia Mashoodh, Christopher D.R. Wyatt, Robert L. Brown, Alexandrina Bodrug-Schepers, Nancy Stralis-Pavese, Juliane C. Dohm, Daniel Mead, Heinz Himmelbauer, Roderic Guigo, Seirian Sumner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hornets are the largest of the social wasps, and are important regulators of insect populations in their native ranges. Hornets are also very successful as invasive species, with often devastating economic, ecological and societal effects. Understanding why these wasps are such successful invaders is critical to managing future introductions and minimising impact on native biodiversity. Critical to the management toolkit is a comprehensive genomic resource for these insects. Here we provide the annotated genomes for two hornets, Vespa crabro and Vespa velutina. We compare their genomes with those of other social Hymenoptera, including the northern giant hornet Vespa mandarinia. The three hornet genomes show evidence of selection pressure on genes associated with reproduction, which might facilitate the transition into invasive ranges. Vespa crabro has experienced positive selection on the highest number of genes, including those putatively associated with molecular binding and olfactory systems. Caste-specific brain transcriptomic analysis also revealed 133 differentially expressed genes, some of which are associated with olfactory functions. This report provides a spring-board for advancing our understanding of the evolution and ecology of hornets, and opens up opportunities for using molecular methods in the future management of both native and invasive populations of these over-looked insects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6232
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 21 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Putting hornets on the genomic map'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this