An exploration of genome size diversity in dragonflies and damselflies (Insecta: Odonata)


  • Editor: Jean-Nicolas Volff

T. Ryan Gregory, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada. Tel: +1 519 824 4120; Fax: +1 519 767 1656


Like most insect orders, the Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) remain poorly studied from the perspective of genome size. They exhibit several characteristics that make them desirable targets for analysis in this area, for example a large range in body size, differences in developmental rate, and distinct modes of flight – all of which are related to genome size in at least some animal taxa. The present study provides new genome size estimates and morphometric data for 100 species of odonates, covering about 1/5 of described North American diversity. Significant relationships are reported between genome size and body size (positive in dragonflies, negative in damselflies), and there is also indication that developmental rate and flight are related to genome size in these insects. Genome size is also positively correlated with chromosome number across the order. These findings contribute to an improved understanding of genome size evolution in insects, and raise several interesting questions for future research.