Published: Donald Price

Donald Price (Life Sciences) recently published two scientific articles describing research aimed at understanding the genomic changes that are associated with the invasion of the fruit fly, Drosophila suzukiiD. suzukii is originally from Asia, established in Hawaii in the 1980’, and recently expanded into the Americas and Europe. Unlike most Drosophilids, this species lays eggs in unripe fruits by means of its sclerotized ovipositor and is causing dramatic losses in fruit production. The first paper, “Population Genomic and Phenotype Diversity of Invasive Drosophila Suzukii in Hawaii,” is was published in Biological Invasions with Jonathan Koch, a post-doctoral research associate working with Price, and several colleagues at the USDA-ARS in Hawaii.  They discovered low genetic diversity and differentiation in all Hawaii populations and identified 23 candidate loci under selection involved in chemosensation, amino acid, and sodium ion transport, a Ras effector pathway, and cytidine deaminationanalyses.  The second paper, “A Whole-genome Scan for Association with Invasion Success in the Fruit Fly Drosophila suzukii Using Contrasts of Allele Frequencies Corrected for Population Structure“ recently was accepted for publication in Molecular Biology and Evolution with colleagues from France, Switzerland, China, Germany, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. They identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that show highly significant association with the invasive status of D. suzukii populations throughout the world. In particular, two genes, RhoGEF64C and cpo, a gene known to contribute to natural variation in diapause in Drosophila, contained significant associations with the invasive status in the two separate main invasion routes of D. suzukii.

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