Domestication of the Black Soldier Fly

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Zoology


This project addresses the use of genomic data in the biotechnology sector. We will work with Hermetia illucens, commonly referred to as the black soldier fly ('BSF'). By feeding on organic waste biomass, such as food, agricultural and manure wastes, BSF larvae are capable of converting waste biomass into a sustainable & renewable source of sought-after nutrients - BSF larvae are rich in lipids and proteins, and BSF larvae-derived meals are effective feedstuffs for a range of commonly farmed livestock species ranging from poultry to farmed fish. There is worldwide interest in developing the potential of this species, and several companies have already developed farming operations based on this species at the multi-ton scale. This project will develop genomic data for optimisation of the BSF genome for industrial applications. We will study the genome of the BSF and apply machine learning methods for analysis of the signatures of domestication in industrial strains. This will provide insight into loci crucial for industrial function of the BSF that will provide potential targets for genetic manipulation.


10 25 50
Description This work has produced a high-quality genome assembly and additional genomic resources for the novel agricultural species, the Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens).
Exploitation Route Release of the genome assembly for the Black Soldier fly (BSF), produced from this project (publicly available) will be fundemental in future genetic studies of this species. Useful to both scientific researchers but also public and private industrial companies in the insects as food and feed sector for the genetic improvment of the BSF.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology