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Biochemistry Seminar: Gemma McLaughlin, PhD Candidate

Invasive Vespula wasps (V. vulgaris and V. germanica) have the largest global densities here in New Zealand.

Previous management attempts have included biocontrol and insecticides, with mixed success.

Here, I explore the potential of using the recently sequenced V. vulgaris genome to evaluate potential genetic techniques for better wasp management.

Research included establishing effective rearing protocols, as initial forays into experiments resulted in high mortality. A developmental series of life stages and ovary development was created, and the presence of genes Vasa and oskar were observed via hybridisation chain reaction (HCR) in worker ovaries.

The venome of V. vulgaris was also explored via mass spectrometry, uncovering a number of venom peptides not yet described in this species. Evaluation of several reference genes was conducted for robust analysis of RNA interference (RANi) data. RNAi was performed via feeding and injection with several genes across most life stages. Data was analysed using qPCR and RNA-seq, showing no effect in gene expression regardless of application or analysis.

From here, I conducted preliminary research on a new branch of CRISPR-cas9 gene editing termed Receptor Mediated Ovary Transduction of Cargo (ReMOT Control). Injection of fluorescently tagged P2C ligands showed uptake in worker ovaries, highlighting the potential of this technique for effective gene editing in reproductive V. vulgaris females.

Streaming details:

Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 977 5670 4741
Password: bioc

Date Tuesday, 9 August 2022
Time 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Audience Public,Undergraduate students,Postgraduate students,Staff
Event Category Health Sciences
Event Type Academic
Online and in-person
LocationBiochemistry Seminar Room G.13 (BIG13) and via Zoom, Dunedin
Contact NameDepartment of Biochemistry

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