The 12th Annual Patton Lecture - Insect Genetic Technologies in the 21st Century

David O’Brochta

Department of Entomology and Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research University of Maryland
September 30th, 2013

Enhancer-Technology on a Mosquito
Application of enhancer-technology to the mosquito Anopheles stephensi, allowing a subset of cells associated with the base of scales and sensilla to be visualized

Some insects serve as invaluable model systems for understanding complex biological processes of direct relevance to the biology of humans, while most are simply of profound importance to human health, welfare and agriculture because of their direct or indirect interactions with humans and the environment. Genomics holds great promise for transforming our understanding of insect biology, and advances in genome sequencing technologies have enabled the sequence of whole genomes to be determined for not only model insects but also increasing numbers of non-model insects. Genome sequence data are accumulating at rates that far surpass our abilities to analyze and interpret them, and researchers investigating non- model insects currently lack many of the tools, methods and systems to empirically investigate insect gene function. Today there is an expanding array of insect genetic technologies that are, unfortunately, non-uniformly available for use in many insect systems. In this lecture we will explore the development of insect genetic technologies, how they work and how they are enabling the deep analysis of insect biology as well as the creation of new insect control strategies. I will relate my own experiences as a developer and user of insect genetic technologies, as well as the experiences of others. At the end of this lecture you will have an appreciation for the diversity of insect genetic technologies that are now available to entomologists, a sense of how they work and what can be done with them as well as what technologies we may see in the near future.

2013 Patton Lecturer David O' Brochta with Department Chair Laura Harrington, Angela Douglas and Jeff Scott