The subsocial life style and wood-feeding capability of Cryptocercus gives us an evolutionary key to unlock some outstanding questions in biology. With the advent of the Genomics Era, there is an unprecedented opportunity to address the evolution of eusociality and the acquisition of lignocellulases at the genetic level. However, to quantify gene expression, an appropriate normalization strategy is warranted to control for the non-specific variations among samples across different experimental conditions. To search for the internal references, 10 housekeeping genes from a gut transcriptome of a wood-feeding cockroach, Cryptocercus punctulatus, were selected as the candidates for the RT-qPCR analysis. The expression profiles of these candidates, including ACT, EF1α, GAPDH, HSP60, HSP70, αTUB, UBC, RPS18, ATPase and GST, were analyzed using a panel of analytical tools, including geNorm, NormFinder, BestKeeper, and comparative ΔCT method. RefFinder, a comprehensive ranking system integrating all four above-mentioned algorithms, rated ACT as the most stable reference gene for different developmental stages and tissues. Expression analysis of the target genes, Hex-1 and Cell-1, using the most or the least appropriate reference genes and a single or multiple normalizers signified this research. Our finding is the first step toward establishing a standardized RT-qPCR analysis in Cryptocercus.

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Published in Scientific Reports, v. 10, article no. 22169.

© The Author(s) 2020

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This research was supported by a hatch project from USDA-NIFA (Accession No. 0220839; Project No. KY008053) and a pilot project from Kentucky Tobacco Research and Development Center (KTRDC), University of Kentucky.

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