The genus Drosophila is large and diverse with about >2,000 known species. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that it comprises two main lineages, which diverged 40-62 myr ago, one leading to the Sophophora subgenus and the second one leading to the Drosophila subgenus. Drosophila buzzatii is a cactophilic species belonging to the repleta species group of the Drosophila subgenus. This species group includes ~100 species, many of them cactophilic species living in the deserts and arid zones of the American continent and has became a model group for studies of ecological adaptation and speciation for over 70 years.The availability of a reference genome sequence for D. buzzatii is a timely resource to get a further insight on the genetics basis of ecological adaptation in the repleta species group.

The D. buzzatii reference genome comes from the sequencing of a standard line of D. buzzatii using 2nd generation sequencing platforms (Roche 454 and Illumina) and also BAC end sequencing using Sanger. Sequencing was done in collaboration with the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) and the National Center for Genomic Analysis (CNAG). Assembly and annotation has been carried out by members of the Genomics, Bioinformatics and Evolution Research Group of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). We have also sequenced the genome of another D. buzzatii line that is fixed for inversion 2j. This second genome was sequenced using Illumina and assembled with SOAPdenovo in collaboration with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC).

Evolutionary analysis of the D. buzzatii genome is being carried out by the Drosophila buzzatii Consortium. The main purpose of this project is to investigate the genetic basis of ecological adaptation by comparing the gene organization and sequence of D. buzzatii with those of D. mojavensis and other Drosophila subgenus species. However, many other aspects are being also investigated, including the transcriptome, and the abundance and distribution of transposable elements.