Genetics of parasitoid life-history traits: using genomics to speed-up domestication
01 / 2012 - 01 / 2016
For any organism, development, survival and reproduction are important traits which together define it's life-history. As Darwin proposed, evolution fine-tunes life-histories to optimally match an organisms environment by selecting heritable adaptations. This research will apply new genomic methods to determine how such life-history adaptations are encoded in the genetic material of a parasitic wasp. Parasitic wasp females lay their eggs in or on other insects. The emerging larvae develop by consuming the host tissue, thereby killing their host. This makes them good alternatives to chemicals to control pests in agriculture and they are frequently used for this purpose in greenhouses and in the field. The life-history of a parasitic wasp determines for a large part how successful it will be as a pest controller. In this research, scientists will use the genetic information of life-history traits to improve the performance of parasitic wasps in biological control.