Postdoctoral Position on genes that impact blow fly behavior

Blow flies are an ideal system for studying the evolution of the parasitic habit. We are currently recruiting a postdoctoral fellow to use CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to assess the importance of selected genes in oviposition behavior, larval diet preference and olfaction preference in Lucilia cuprina and Cochliomyia macellaria. We have developed efficient methods for gene editing and transgenesis in these species and have assembled and annotated reference quality genomes.

Apply at https://jobs.ncsu.edu/postings/163433.

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Postdoctoral position on Drosophila suzukii Cas9 strains

A postdoctoral fellowship is available to develop Y-linked Cas9 strains of Drosophila suzukii for a genetic control program. see here for more details and apply here.

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Gene editing in Drosophila suzukii

In a recent article in CRISPR Journal we describe Drosophila suzukii (spotted wing drosophila) strains that express Cas9 and sgRNAs for efficient gene editing. This work could lead to improved strains for genetic control of this invasive pest of soft-skinned fruits. This was in collaboration with Omar Akbari’s lab at UC San Diego.

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Lucilia sericata genome

Our paper on the genome assembly and larval gene expression analysis of the common green blow fly Lucilia sericata has been published in Genomics. web. These resources could lead to improved strains for maggot debridement therapy and for genetic control of the fly in regions where it is an economic pest of sheep.

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On the cover!

Amarish and Aki’s design was selected for the November 2021 issue of Pest Management Science. web

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Congratulations Dr. Megan!

Congratulations to Dr. Megan Williamson on successfully completing a PhD in genetics. Megan’s thesis was on Lucilia cuprina and titled “Improvement and Development of Genetic Sexing Strains and Gene Editing Tools for Insect Pest Management”. A paper on conditional sex transformation in L. cuprina is under review. Megan’s earlier work on tetracycline-repressible female lethal systems has been published.

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Whole body fluorescent protein markers for transgenic Aedes aegypti

Strongly expressed fluorescent protein genes that are expressed throughout development can be useful for identifying transgenic mosquitoes in the field. In a recent paper we report that the Aedes aegypti hsp83 promoter drives expression of ZsGreen and DsRed fluorescent protein genes in larvae, pupae and adults. Sophia Webster, a former doctoral student, was the first author on the study.

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Suppression of cage populations of Drosophila suzukii

In a recent paper in Pest Management Science, we described the evaluation of two spotted wing Drosophila male-only strains. Repeated releases of males from the FL19 strain led to suppression of established populations in cage trials.

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Dispatch on sex determination and dosage compensation

In the current issue of Current Biology, Max has written a dispatch on the importance of finding that the femaleless (fle) gene is essential for development and dosage compensation inhibition in females in the malaria vector, Anopheles gambiae. In the article, Max places the fle study into a broader context of what is currently known about the sex determination and dosage compensation regulatory hierarchies in Diptera.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2021.01.078

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Recent publications on screwworm and sheep blowfly male-only strains

We recently published two papers in a special issue of BMC Genetics on the sterile insect technique. One paper led by Carolina Concha and Ying Yang describes New World screwworm strains that carry an early female lethal conditional genetic system. In the absence of tetracycline, females died at the embryo or 1st instar stages. In the second paper we describe a Lucilia cuprina strain with two lethal effectors, which could improve strain stability under mass rearing and reduce the risk of resistance in the field.

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