Chimeric P450 gene confers pyrethroid resistance in the cotton bollworm: article out now

Our recent work using genetic data shows that a chimeric P450 gene-based resistance mechanism is common around the world in cotton bollworm populations, including South America.

Different versions of the gene are likely to have arisen independently in different geographic locations via selection on existing diversity. Alleles found in Brazil are also those most commonly found in Asia, suggesting a potential origin for the incursion of the bollworm (Harmigera) into the Americas.

Multiple recombination events between two cytochrome P450 loci contribute to global pyrethroid resistance in Helicoverpa armigera


Honours/Masters Project

My colleague, Dr. Kerensa McElroy, and I are excited to be advertising for an Honours or Masters student to work on the following topic:

Telomere length as a biomarker for stress in an Australian pest moth

Photo from ANIC

Photo from ANIC

This project will use data from Australian pest moth populations that have been subjected to severe selective pressure, in the form of insecticide resistance, through time.  Based on the premise that telomeres (chromosome ends) are expected to get shorter as environmental stress increases, we aim to use telomere length as a biomarker for stress in pre- and post-insecticide pest populations. Specifically, we expect to see a shortening of telomere length in stressed (post-insecticide) vs. non-stressed (pre-insecticide) populations.

The successful student will work with us using a bioinformatic pipeline to examine telomere lengths in full genome re-sequencing data.

Please get touch with me if you would like more information!  We are recruiting now!

EDIT: Masters student now recruited :-)

Penguin ectoparasite panmixia suggests frequent host movement within a colony

Katie Moon is studying population connectivity, host specificity, physiological tolerances and genetic/species diversity in ticks throughout the Southern Hemisphere, with a view towards how this affects penguin colony structure.

Our collaborative work on ticks from penguins at Philip Island (Victoria, Australia) was accepted for publication with The Auk: Ornithological Advances this month!  In this study, we use genetic signatures of ticks to infer penguin movements within colonies and find signals for panmixia among populations, indicating high degrees of gene flow and socialisation despite strong nest-site philopatry.