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Postdoctoral fellowship in Chemical Ecology

Evolution of polyphagous insects: transcriptome and proteome of food perception and processing

Project description

The olfactory system and alimentary canal are critically important interfaces of an insect interacting with its environment. The antenna mediates detection of volatile cues in the environment and has direct influence on host plant perception and preference by egg-depositing females. The gut is the source of vital physiological processes such as digestion of food and detoxification of food defence compounds. Utilization of many food sources, or polyphagy, puts an especially strong pressure on the adaptation of these two interfaces to handle a broad assortment of challenges handling a varied diet.

Our research group works on the Spodoptera littoralis moth, an extremely polyphagous species, concerning ecological adaptations to different host plants. We will combine, in two recently developed methods for a comparative approach:

  1. Gene expression (transcriptome) analysis, which will in turn be used for informed
  2. protein secretion (proteomics) analysis.

The combination of these state-of-the art methods will allow us to characterize the biological response to host and non-host plants. In an evolutionary context, comparisons will be made to a related moth, more specialised in its food choice.

Starting time

February 2014, depending on availability of applicants. The screening of applications will start from December 2, 2013

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