The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the intramural research agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which employs scientists to conduct basic and applied research for the development and transfer of solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority and to ensure food security for domestic and export needs. Economically important and invasive arthropods, especially insect, tick, and mite species, negatively impact the health of every plant and animal, resulting in significant production losses among crop, livestock and forestry commodities amounting to billions of US dollars annually. The economic impact increases further when the insect damage to home and urban landscapes is taken into account. Ensuring continued viability of beneficial insects in the environment is crucial for the pollination of all horticultural and orchard crops, as well as for enhancing natural biological control of pest arthropods and overall ecosystem sustainability. Mitigating damage by arthropod pest species and safeguarding the health of beneficial arthropods are key components for ensuring the stability of agricultural production in the United States and abroad. Developments in genomics, including next generation sequencing (NGS), provide a suite of new research tools within applied agricultural arthropod research. Contributions by the ARS to arthropod genomics research are reviewed herein. These research approaches are discussed briefly in the context of improving agricultural production and environmental stewardship. Arthropod genomics research within ARS is contributing significantly to the improvement of agricultural production and environmental stewardship for farmers, the agricultural industry, and consumers alike.
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