Finding enhancers in beetles

Our paper on establishing enhancer studies in beetles is now published in Development! Hope the approach and recourses we established will help facilitate more enhancer studies in non-Drosophila insects :-)

We made all of our FAIRE data available (NCBI GEO link here), so you can take a look at your genes and hunt for your enhancers. The piggyBac reporter plasmids reported in the paper are now also showcased in this page. More new constructs coming soon!

This work was not possible without the help of the awesome collaborators, Marc Halfon (University at Buffalo), Dan McKay (UNC Chapel Hill), Ezzat El-Sherif (Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät), as well as the dedicated work of Yi-Ting and other members!



On the origin of insect wings…

Our mini-review recapping the insect wing origin debate and featuring a recent cool paper from Mann and Estella labs is now published on Current Biology.

“Sometime in the Devonian, perhaps about 400 million years ago, insects became the first clade to conquer the sky. Recent evo-devo studies have begun to unravel the mysterious origin of the flight structure that made insects into extraordinary six-legged fliers.”

Hope this will be a good primer when you want to learn how six legged flying buggers have evolved!  link


On Media

Our work has been featured on some science news outlets. Here are some links!

Growing wings on beetle abdomens provides another clue in the mystery of where insect wings come from. The VERGE

Image of the Day: Ectopic Wings. The Scientist

The origin of insect wings has been revealed by gene editing. New Scientist

Also, here is  the behind-the-paper story written by David. Very fun to read. Highly recommend!

Can a beetle with 12 extra wings help explore the evolutionary origin of insect wings? Nature ecology & evolution Community


New paper in PNAS!

2018 is off to a great start! Our latest paper on the evolutionary origin of insect wings is now published in PNAS (self-archived  version here, and SI from here). By studying wing related tissues in the abdomen of beetles, we obtained further evidence supporting a  dual evolutionary origin of insect wings. Hope you like it!



Courtney Departmental Seminar

Courtney presented her PhD work at the Biology Departmental Seminar. The seminar was beautifully delivered, followed by some good discussions. We celebrated the success of the seminar with beer and lavash  :-)


Functional cis studies in beetles

Still preprint, but the manuscript regarding our effort to establish a system to analyze enhancers in Tribolium is now available on bioRxiv (link).

We had a lot of struggles to make this work, but we also had a lot of fun collaborating with Dan, Marc, and Ezzat. This work was not possible at all without their help. No celebration yet, as we still need to find good home for this manuscript (fingers crossed), but hope this is a big step forward in insect evodevo!

We made all of our FAIRE data available (NCBI GEO link here), so you can take a look at your genes and hunt for your enhancers!