Nasonia vitripennis (Nvit_2.1)

Nasonia vitripennis Assembly and Gene Annotation

About Nasonia vitripennis

The jewel wasp (Nasonia vitripennis), was one of three closely-related Nasonia species sequenced by the Nasonia Genome Working Group [1], and is an important model for parasitoid genomics. Female wasps inject venom (which is ultimately fatal) into a host pupa and lay eggs on its surface, beneath the wall of the puparium. After about 2 weeks the adult wasps, having fed on the pupa, eat their way through the puparium, where the females mate with the (flightless) males before dispersing.

Parasitoid wasps are of practical interest because there are a vast number of species, and a correspondingly vast number of host species, including many that are considered to be agricultural pests. The wasps are thus a potential biological alternative to chemical insecticides; N. vitripennis is a generalist with respect to host species, parasitizing a range of blowflies and houseflies. The Nasonia species are interfertile and are amenable to study in a laboratory, and their haplodiploid sex-determination reduces the complexity of genetic studies [2]. Combined with the genome data, these factors permit the investigation of a wide range of evolutionary topics, including speciation, development, and host-parasite dynamics.

Picture credit (public domain): M. E. Clark 2006


Nasonia vitripennis was sequenced to 6.2 times coverage using Sanger sequencing. Genomic sequence came from the highly inbred AsymCX strain. Sequencing was carried out at the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine, and the Atlas genome assembly software was used for assembly. Ensembl Metazoa contains the chromosomal assembly, version 2.1.


The original genome annotation was generated using the NCBI gene prediction pipeline, Augustus, and Fgenesh++. A consensus gene set was produced using GLEAN. This gene set was refined to generate the Official Gene Set v1.2, imported into Ensembl Metazoa from NasoniaBase. These genes were annotated on version 1.0 of the assembly; Ensembl Metazoa has mapped them to assembly version 2.1, which consists of almost the same supercontigs as version 1.0, assembled into chromosomes. Non-coding RNA genes were added using the Ensembl Genomes pipeline, and BLAST hits and protein features have been computed.


  1. Functional and evolutionary insights from the genomes of three parasitoid Nasonia species.
    The Nasonia Genome Working Group. 2010. Science. 327:343-348.
  2. The parasitoid wasp Nasonia: an emerging model system with haploid male genetics.
    Werren JH, Loehlin DW. 2009. Cold Spring Harbor Protocols. 2009:pdb.emo134.

More information

General information about this species can be found in Wikipedia.



AssemblyNvit_2.1, INSDC Assembly GCA_000002325.2, Nov 2012
Database version101.2
Base Pairs239,637,596
Golden Path Length295,780,872
Genebuild byNasoniaBase
Genebuild methodImport
Data sourceNasoniaBase

Gene counts

Coding genes17,279
Non coding genes426
Small non coding genes424
Long non coding genes2
Gene transcripts19,367

About this species