Dr. Halfon visit

Dr. Marc Halfon at University at Buffalo, The State University of New York visited Miami and gave the departmental seminar “Repeal, replace, and redeploy: evolution of a conserved gene regulatory network in the mosquito Aedes aegypti“.

We had a lot of good discussions about how to improve our enhancer prediction methods. Thanks, Marc for a very intriguing seminar!

The 1st AsiaEvo conference

Yoshi attended the 1st AsiaEvo conference that was held in Shenzhen, China. This was the first Asia-wide evolutionary biology conference. The conference was amazing; close to 1,000 attendees and many interesting presentations. Yoshi gave a talk in the session “The developmental origin of novel complex traits”. 

We also had a tour to the China National GeneBank, which was an amazing facility!



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