The genetic adaptations of fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda facilitated its rapid global dispersal and invasion.
The fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is a lepidopteran insect pest that causes huge economic losses. This notorious insect pest has rapidly spread over the world in the past few years. However, the mechanisms of rapid dispersal are not well understood. Here, we report a chromosome-level assembled genome of the fall armyworm, named the ZJ-version, using PacBio and Hi-C technology. The sequenced individual was a female collected from the Zhejiang province of China and had high heterozygosity. The assembled genome size of ZJ-version was 486 Mb, containing 361 contigs with an N50 of 1.13 Mb. Hi-C scaffolding further assembled the genome into 31 chromosomes and a portion of W chromosome, representing 97.4% of all contigs and resulted in a chromosome-level genome with scaffold N50 of 16.3 Mb. The sex chromosomes were identified by genome resequencing of a single male pupa and a single female pupa. About 28% of the genome was annotated as repeat sequences, and 22,623 protein-coding genes were identified. Comparative genomics revealed the expansion of the detoxification-associated gene families, chemoreception-associated gene families, nutrition metabolism and transport system gene families in the fall armyworm. Transcriptomic and phylogenetic analyses focused on these gene families revealed the potential roles of the genes in polyphagia and invasion of fall armyworm. The high-quality of the fall armyworm genome provides an important genomic resource for further explorations of the mechanisms of polyphagia and insecticide resistance, as well as for pest management of fall armyworm.