Inside the Tangled Bank of Arthropods


We unravel the molecular-genetic mechanisms of hybrid dysfunction, herbivory, and pesticide resistance. One of the major research lines dissects the mechanistic underpinnings of symbiont-host interactions. We use interdisciplinary approaches to study the molecular architecture of these complex traits.




Within my ERC project, we have vacancies for two PhD fellows.
Please click here for more information on the PhD vacancy that centers on mechanisms of host-symbiont interactions.
Please click here for more information on the PhD vacancy that centers on mechanisms of hybrid defects.

I would be happy to answer questions about the positions, work, and our group!


It has been a brilliant week!


Our comparative genomics manuscript on symbiotic Ca. Tisiphia was published in Nature Communications, work that was spearheaded by Helen and Stefanos (click here for more!). In addition, our study that identifies and dissects intraspecific host modulation of Wolbachia-mediated CI was also published in Evolution Letters. Here, we uncover that spider mite males and females control different features of CI and confirm that the evolution of reproductive parasitism is contingent on host genetics (click here for more!). Next week, our work with Jens Zarka and Thomas Parmentier on intersexuality in Porcellio isopods will also be published!


Lennert Beele also defended his excellent thesis on Dobzhansky-Muller incompatibilities and Wolbachia-induced CI in Tetranychus urticae and Tetranychus cinnabarinus.


Tomorrow, I’m going to Montpellier for a week of meetings and pilot experiments (and hopefully some wine and cheese too!).


Overdue for an update!

The last PhD chapter of Masoumeh is now published by PLOS Genetics! Here, we uncovered the complex genetic architecture underlying resistance to pyflubumide (a complex II inhibitor) by combining transcriptomic analyses and high-resolution genetic mapping. Two QTLs centered on cytochrome P450s that were overexpressed in resistant populations. We further corroborated the involvement of one of these P450s, CYP392A16, in resistance by in vitro functional expression and metabolism studies. Our genomic analyses also strongly indicated that gene amplification of CPR could enhance cytochrome P450-mediated detoxification, suggesting a novel molecular mechanism of toxicokinetic resistance.

In our research to study genetic conflict, we are currently tracking the spread of Wolbachia in replicated experimental populations that differ in their ability to suppress reproductive parasitism. We are at day 60 (approx. fifth-sixth generation) and already extracted DNA from 300 female mites. We took a risk, but are getting great results!