Publications by authors named "Sarah Giers"

4 Publications

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The whole genome sequence of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), reveals insights into the biology and adaptive evolution of a highly invasive pest species.

Genome Biol 2016 09 22;17(1):192. Epub 2016 Sep 22.

DIANA-Lab, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Thessaly, 382 21 Volos, Greece and Hellenic Pasteur Institute, 11521, Athens, Greece.

Background: The Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly), Ceratitis capitata, is a major destructive insect pest due to its broad host range, which includes hundreds of fruits and vegetables. It exhibits a unique ability to invade and adapt to ecological niches throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world, though medfly infestations have been prevented and controlled by the sterile insect technique (SIT) as part of integrated pest management programs (IPMs). The genetic analysis and manipulation of medfly has been subject to intensive study in an effort to improve SIT efficacy and other aspects of IPM control.

Results: The 479 Mb medfly genome is sequenced from adult flies from lines inbred for 20 generations. A high-quality assembly is achieved having a contig N50 of 45.7 kb and scaffold N50 of 4.06 Mb. In-depth curation of more than 1800 messenger RNAs shows specific gene expansions that can be related to invasiveness and host adaptation, including gene families for chemoreception, toxin and insecticide metabolism, cuticle proteins, opsins, and aquaporins. We identify genes relevant to IPM control, including those required to improve SIT.

Conclusions: The medfly genome sequence provides critical insights into the biology of one of the most serious and widespread agricultural pests. This knowledge should significantly advance the means of controlling the size and invasive potential of medfly populations. Its close relationship to Drosophila, and other insect species important to agriculture and human health, will further comparative functional and structural studies of insect genomes that should broaden our understanding of gene family evolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13059-016-1049-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5034548PMC
September 2016

Genome of the house fly, Musca domestica L., a global vector of diseases with adaptations to a septic environment.

Genome Biol 2014 ;15(10):466

Department of Entomology, Comstock Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.

Background: Adult house flies, Musca domestica L., are mechanical vectors of more than 100 devastating diseases that have severe consequences for human and animal health. House fly larvae play a vital role as decomposers of animal wastes, and thus live in intimate association with many animal pathogens.

Results: We have sequenced and analyzed the genome of the house fly using DNA from female flies. The sequenced genome is 691 Mb. Compared with Drosophila melanogaster, the genome contains a rich resource of shared and novel protein coding genes, a significantly higher amount of repetitive elements, and substantial increases in copy number and diversity of both the recognition and effector components of the immune system, consistent with life in a pathogen-rich environment. There are 146 P450 genes, plus 11 pseudogenes, in M. domestica, representing a significant increase relative to D. melanogaster and suggesting the presence of enhanced detoxification in house flies. Relative to D. melanogaster, M. domestica has also evolved an expanded repertoire of chemoreceptors and odorant binding proteins, many associated with gustation.

Conclusions: This represents the first genome sequence of an insect that lives in intimate association with abundant animal pathogens. The house fly genome provides a rich resource for enabling work on innovative methods of insect control, for understanding the mechanisms of insecticide resistance, genetic adaptation to high pathogen loads, and for exploring the basic biology of this important pest. The genome of this species will also serve as a close out-group to Drosophila in comparative genomic studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13059-014-0466-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4195910PMC
October 2015

Complex and non-redundant signals from individual odor receptors that underlie chemotaxis behavior in Drosophila melanogaster larvae.

Biol Open 2014 Sep 19;3(10):947-57. Epub 2014 Sep 19.

Department of Biological Sciences, Dominican University, 7900 West Division Street, Parmer Hall 244, River Forest, IL 60305, USA

The rules by which odor receptors encode odors and allow behavior are still largely unexplored. Although large data sets of electrophysiological responses of receptors to odors have been generated, few hypotheses have been tested with behavioral assays. We use a data set on odor responses of Drosophila larval odor receptors coupled with chemotaxis behavioral assays to examine rules of odor coding. Using mutants of odor receptors, we have found that odor receptors with similar electrophysiological responses to odors across concentrations play non-redundant roles in odor coding at specific odor concentrations. We have also found that high affinity receptors for odors determine behavioral response thresholds, but the rules for determining peak behavioral responses are more complex. While receptor mutants typically show loss of attraction to odors, some receptor mutants result in increased attraction at specific odor concentrations. The odor receptor mutants were rescued using transgenic expression of odor receptors, validating assignment of phenotypes to the alleles. Vapor pressures alone cannot fully explain behavior in our assay. Finally, some odors that did not elicit strong electrophysiological responses are associated with behavioral phenotypes upon examination of odor receptor mutants. This result is consistent with the role of sensory neurons in lateral inhibition via local interneurons in the antennal lobe. Taken together, our results suggest a complexity of odor coding rules even in a simple olfactory sensory system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/bio.20148573DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4197443PMC
September 2014