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    Molecular Biology and Evolutionary Ecology

    CSP and takeout genes regulate the  initiation of locust aggregation

    Using the locust microarray, we found that several olfaction-related genes, CSP and takeout, are strongly regulated during both processes and display opposite expression trends in response to population density change. We then identified that these genes mediate the rapid switch of attraction/repulsion behaviors in the migratory locust. Our findings are particularly significant for understanding the process of locust aggregation and may provide new targets to manipulate locust behavior as part of novel management strategies——PLoS Genetics (7(2):e1001291)

    Dopamine pathway plays key role during phase change in locust

    We have undertaken a genome-wide expression profiling study and identified genes involved in the catecholamine metabolic pathway regulating biosynthesis and release of dopamine, as essential for effecting such phase changes. By using RNA interference and pharmacological intervention, we confirmed the important roles of dopamine and related genes. Our study suggests that dopamine is likely the central neural transmitter responsible for mediating phase-related phenotypes in the locust and this pathway offers potential targets for designing specific pesticides ——PNAS(108(10):3882-3887)

    Unexpected relationship in Chinese Locusta migratoria

    Multilocus microsatellite genotyping analysis shows that Chinese migratory locust populations (Locusta migratoria) have differentiated into three genetically distinct groups despite high dispersal capability. More importantly, it demonstrated a strong affiliation of the East China locusts to those in Northwest/Northern China. This unexpected cryptic subdivision indicates the necessity of revising the traditional concept on Locusta subspecies established from Uvarov in 1930s. ——BMC Evolutionary Biology (9: 144)

    Density Dependent Prophylaxis Immunity in Crowded Locust Reduced Fungal (Metarhizium anisopliae) Pathogenesis

    RNA-Seq-based transcriptome found that gregarious locusts optimized immunity by investing more in molecules of upstream immune cascades. High levels of pattern recognition proteins guided deposition of immune products onto pathogens reducing growth, proliferation and transmission. Our results provide an insight to an organism's “enhanced” immunity induced by population densities and inspires new paradigms to understand biopesticide tolerance and disease epidemics.——PLoS Pathogens (9(1): e1003102)

    Carnitines play key roles in locust phase change

    Metabolomic analysis showed that a total of 319 metabolites differed significantly in concentration between the phases. Carnitines, which are involved in the lipid β-oxidation process, were identified as key differential metabolites that display robust correlation with the time courses of phase transition. RNAi silencing of two key enzymes from the carnitine system, resulted in a behavioral transition from the gregarious to solitarious phase and the corresponding changes of metabolic profiles. In contrast, the injection of exogenous acetylcarnitine promoted the acquisition of gregarious behavior in solitarious locusts——PNAS(109:3259-3263)

    Haplotype reconstruction of nuclear DNA

    A serious obstacle to employ scnpDNA markers is the general problem of haplotype determination due to the common occurrence of heterozygosity in diploid organisms. A “consensus vote (CV)” strategy was developed and demonstrated being a reliable approach in natural populations. Developed a software package CVhaplot to implement automatically the CV approach. To improve the performance of CV approach, it is necessary to avoid the impact from internal algorithmic variability. ——Molecular Ecology (17: 1930-1947 ; 18:1556-1559)

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