Proposal Title

Co-evolution in Divergent Insects: Physiological and Molecular Evidence

Primary Faculty Mentor’s Name

Nathan Lord

Session Format

Poster

Abstract

The objective of the study is to investigate the physiological and molecular properties of sensory systems in two divergent insect groups in order to test hypotheses relating to co-evolution. Physiological methods include morphological dissections of jewel beetles to test the hypothesis of a fused, centralized thoracic nerve ganglion. Molecular methods include RNA extraction, Illumina library prep, Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), and phylogenetic analyses to investigate the sensory genes present in both wasps and beetles. Preliminary physiological results suggest the presence of a centralized nerve ganglion in at least some jewel beetles. Preliminary molecular results suggest sub-functionalization of opsin duplications in the jewel beetles, but a traditional complement of three opsin classes in the wasp. This evidence has the potential to reveal co-evolution of two different insect linages, which may inform other scientific fields including visual ecology, molecular biology and entomology.

Keywords

jewel beetles, RNA extraction, Illumina library prep, Next-Generation Sequencing, phylogenetic analysis, wasps

Presentation Year

2017

Publication Type and Release Option

Event

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Co-evolution in Divergent Insects: Physiological and Molecular Evidence

The objective of the study is to investigate the physiological and molecular properties of sensory systems in two divergent insect groups in order to test hypotheses relating to co-evolution. Physiological methods include morphological dissections of jewel beetles to test the hypothesis of a fused, centralized thoracic nerve ganglion. Molecular methods include RNA extraction, Illumina library prep, Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), and phylogenetic analyses to investigate the sensory genes present in both wasps and beetles. Preliminary physiological results suggest the presence of a centralized nerve ganglion in at least some jewel beetles. Preliminary molecular results suggest sub-functionalization of opsin duplications in the jewel beetles, but a traditional complement of three opsin classes in the wasp. This evidence has the potential to reveal co-evolution of two different insect linages, which may inform other scientific fields including visual ecology, molecular biology and entomology.