The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) has been a persistent pest of humans for thousands of years, yet the genetic basis of the bed bug’s basic biology and adaptation to dense human environments is largely unknown. In a large, collaborative effort we sequenced the genome of the bed bug using short (Illumina) and long (Moleculo) read technologies, uncovering a genome size of ~698 Mb harboring ~37,000 genes. Using RNA-seq we uncovered changes in gene expression along the life cycle. The most pronounced differences occurred after feeding on human blood and included genes from the Wolbachia endosymbiont, which shows a simultaneous and coordinated host-commensal response to blood feeding. These data provide a rich genetic resource for mapping activity and density of bed bugs across human hosts and cities, which can help track, manage, and control bed bug infestations.
Rosenfeld et al. (2016) Genome assembly and geospatial phylogenomics of the bed bug Cimex lectularius. Nature Communications 7:10164.