Project properties

Title Functional analysis of candidate genes for wing morphology in the jewel wasp Nasonia vitripennis
Group Entomology, Laboratory of
Project type thesis
Credits 36
Supervisor(s) Eveline Verhulst (ENT)
Bart Pannebakker (GEN)
Examiner(s) Marcel Dicke
Contact info
Begin date 2020/01/06
End date 2021/07/28
Description Wing morphology is an important trait underlying flight ability in Pterygote insects. To investigate the genetic basis of wing morphology, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for wing morphology and body size in an outbred population of the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis. We found several SNPs in distinct peaks across the genome with a genome-wide significant additive or dominance effects for wing morphology or body size. These peaks contained several candidate genes that may affect body size or wing morphology. While a GWAS provides evidence for the association between SNPs and a phenotype, it is not yet causative evidence of candidate genes. In this project, we want to use RNAi-mediated knock-down of our candidate genes, to provide functional evidence of their role in the genetic variation observed in wing morphology in Nasonia vitripennis. Such evidence is crucial if we want to determine the pathways involved in wing formation and the way that evolution affects them.

In this project you will:
- choose the candidate genes you want to work on based on their gene ontology, and expression levels in early wasp development
- design the dsRNA target region and produce the dsRNA
- microinject early wasp larvae
- use quantitative RT-PCR to determine efficient knockdown
- phenotype the RNAi treated wasps

The project is based in the Laboratory of Entomology and the Laboratory of Genetics.
Used skills microinjection, RNA interference, quantitative RT-PCR, functional analysis, insect rearing and phenotyping
Requirements For doing a BSc-thesis at Entomology, there are no requirements for specific courses.
For doing a MSc-thesis or internship at Entomology, the following requirements apply: ENT-30806 + a second ENT-course (preferably ENT-30306 or ENT-50806 or ENT-53806). As an alternative for the second ENT-course, PHP-30806 or BHE-30306 can be selected.
Note: these requirements do not apply for MBI students; MBI students should check the requirements for doing an ENT MSc-thesis or internship in the study programme of their specialisation.