Sex-conversion gene drives for insect pest management (CHAPMAN_U19DTP1)
- Research Area Agriculture and Food Security
- Partner The University of East Anglia (UEA)
Prof Tracey Chapman -
- Application Deadline 26/11/2018
CRISPR/Cas9-based gene drives can introduce and spread genes and desirable traits into wild populations. There are a wide range of potential uses for this technology in insect pest control. For example, to spread sterility or to reduce the ability of insects to transmit pathogens. To-date, most research effort has been focused on disease vectors such as mosquitoes. However, gene drives also have the potential to be utilised much more widely to combat global agricultural pests. In this exciting project, the student will use sex conversion as a population control measure against agricultural pests of global importance, by manipulating sex determination to convert crop-damaging females into benign males. The student will gain cutting-edge research skills in molecular genetics, CRISPR/Cas9 technology, genomics and reproductive biology.
The project is a collaboration with colleagues at the Pirbright Institute, a world leading research centre for the development of genetic technologies. The project aims to manipulate sex determination pathways in a global agricultural pest, the medfly (Ceratitis capitata) in order to effect population control through gene editing a gene drive system in which males are converted into XX pseudomales. The systems produced will then be evaluated in behavioural and genomic tests.
The student will gain research skills in cutting-edge genetic and genomic manipulations. They will train at UEA and at Pirbright and will gain key insights into the development and application of novel gene drive systems in the applied sector. They will receive excellent training and career development from the thriving Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership.