David C. Rinker , Xiaofan Zhou , Ronald Jason Pitts , Antonis Rokas , LJ Zwiebel
A comparative transcriptomic study of mosquito olfactory tissues recently published in BMC Genomics (Hodges et al., 2014) reported several novel findings that have broad implications for the field of insect olfaction. In this brief commentary, we outline why the conclusions of Hodges et al. are problematic under the current models of insect olfaction and then contrast their findings with those of other RNAseq based studies of mosquito olfactory tissues. We also generated a new RNAseq data set from the maxillary palp of Anopheles gambiae in an effort to replicate the novel results of Hodges et al. but were unable to reproduce their results. Instead, our new RNAseq data support the more straightforward explanation that the novel findings of Hodges et al. were a consequence of contamination by antennal RNA. In summary, we find strong evidence to suggest that the conclusions of Hodges et al were spurious, and that at least some of their RNAseq data sets were irrevocably compromised by cross-contamination between samples.