Development of a Nasonia vitripennis outbred laboratory population for genetic analysis



The parasitoid wasp genus Nasonia has rapidly become a genetic model system for developmental and evolutionary biology. The release of its genome sequence led to the development of high-resolution genomic tools, for both interspecific and intraspecific research, which has resulted in great advances in understanding Nasonia biology. To further advance the utility of Nasonia vitripennis as a genetic model system and to be able to fully exploit the advantages of its fully sequenced and annotated genome, we developed a genetically variable and well-characterized experimental population. In this study, we describe the establishment of the genetically diverse HVRx laboratory population from strains collected from the field in the Netherlands. We established a maintenance method that retains genetic variation over generations of culturing in the laboratory. As a characterization of its genetic composition, we provide data on the standing genetic variation and estimate the effective population size (Ne) by microsatellite analysis. A genome-wide description of polymorphism is provided through pooled resequencing, which yielded 417 331 high-quality SNPs spanning all five Nasonia chromosomes. The HVRx population and its characterization are freely available as a community resource for investigators seeking to elucidate the genetic basis of complex trait variation using the Nasonia model system.