BEIJING -- Chinese researchers have revealed the genomic landscape of a waste recycling insect and used gene editing methods to improve the insect for better utilization.

The black soldier fly, or Hermetia illucens, is renowned for dealing with organic waste including food leftovers. It can convert the waste into its own stored high protein, and can be made into medicine and animal feed.

To further tap its potential for recycling organic waste, researchers from the Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences under the Chinese Academy of Sciences conducted genomic analysis with high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics analysis.

They reported 1.1 GB of gene data and a set of 16,700 gene models for this beneficial species.

After analyzing the genes related to septic adaptation, including immune system factors and olfactory receptors, researchers used a gene-editing approach to yield a flightless black soldier fly with enhanced feeding capacity, which could help increase its production.

The study provides valuable genomic and technical resources for optimizing the species for industrialization.

The research was published in the journal Cell Research.