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Genetics and Genomics

Molecular dialogue between insect eggs and Arabidopsis thaliana

Insect eggs are not passive structures deposited on leaves. They induce plant defenses that inhibit egg development or attract egg predators. Oviposition by the Large White butterfly Pieris brassicae leads to salicylic acid (SA) accumulation and local cell death in Arabidopsis. These responses are activated by a phospholipid elicitor perceived at the cell surface and share molecular similarities with PAMP-triggered immunity (PTI). However, expression of defense genes regulated by the jasmonic acid (JA) pathway are suppressed and larval performance is enhanced.

Melinda Denton Endowed Lecture: Rediscovering the organism in phylogenetic biology

Phylogenetics has found its way into many different subdisciplines of biology, and has made lasting impacts in fields as disparate as community ecology and medicine. In evolutionary biology, the recent trend of phylogeny-oriented studies has been toward “scaling up”, and looking for very broad patterns in character evolution and diversification in attempts to make generalizations about the tempo and mode of evolution. This scaling up does come with a cost, in that we spend less time trying to understand how evolutionary processes work at the whole-organism level.

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