Biosystematics, informatics and genomics of the big 4 insect groups: training tomorrow's researchers and entrepreneurs

Phylogenomics of gall wasps and their parasitic relatives

Objectives: Gall wasps (Cynipidae) comprise the largest radiation of gall-inducing insects that can control plant morphogenesis with astounding accuracy. That control mechanism still unknown, and the evolutionary origin and early diversification of gall wasps is still unclear. This project aims to use phylogenomic techniques together with studies of fossils to resolve the relationships between the major lineages of gall wasps and their relatives, and to shed light on the possible multiple origins of the ability to induce galls, and to identify candidate genes that may be involved in the gall-induction mechanism.

Expected Results: 1) A phylogenomic study of relationships among gall wasps and their relatives, identifying the evolutionary origin of the ability to induce galls. 2) A fossil-based dating study, identifying when and how quickly the ability to induce galls was acquired. 3) Identification of candidate genes involved in gall induction.






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