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Molecular Biology
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Jennifer Brisson


Anthropology
University of Rochester
United States of America

Biography

"Research in the laboratory investigates the molecular genetic basis of morphological evolution. We're interested in how both nature and nurture affect final adult morphology. We use a variety of approaches including genetics, genomics and developmental biology. Our study system is the pea aphid. Aphids are remarkable insects, able to produce a variety of morphologies across their complex life cycles that alternate between asexual and sexual development. During the asexual phase, females are often wingless and specialize in the mass production of genetically identical wingless daughters. However, if their host plant becomes too crowded, those same females can switch to producing daughters that have wings as adults so that those daughters can fly away and find better food sources. Thus, winged and wingless females of pea aphids are genetically identical yet morphologically very different. How these alternative morphologies are produced is one of the main questions we address in the lab."

Research Interest

Evolution of morphology; Molecular basis of phenotypic plasticity; Evolution and development in the pea aphid; The role of epigenetics in polyphenism

Publications

  • Vellichirammal NN, Madayiputhiya N, Brisson JA. The genomewide transcriptional response underlying the pea aphid wing polyphenism. Molecular ecology. 2016 Sep 1;25(17):4146-60.

  • Grantham ME, Antonio CJ, ONeil BR, Zhan YX, Brisson JA. A case for a joint strategy of diversified bet hedging and plasticity in the pea aphid wing polyphenism. Biology letters. 2016 Oct 1;12(10):20160654.

  • Grantham ME, Antonio CJ, ONeil BR, Zhan YX, Brisson JA. A case for a joint strategy of diversified bet hedging and plasticity in the pea aphid wing polyphenism. Biology letters. 2016 Oct 1;12(10):20160654.

  • Purandare SR, Bickel RD, Jaquiery J, Rispe C, Brisson JA. Accelerated evolution of morph-biased genes in pea aphids. Molecular biology and evolution. 2014 Apr 26;31(8):2073-83.

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