Research   Theses  CV  Publications  Presentations  help    to staff list 

Current research topic

Plant factors forcing sympatric speciation in the Acyrthosiphon pisum species complex


Schmidt, A., Baumann, N., Schwarzkopf, A., Frommer, W. B., Desimone, M. (2006) Comparative studies on Ureide Permeases in Arabidopsis thaliana and analysis of two alternative splice variants of AtUPS5. Planta 224: 1329-1340

Current Research (PhD Thesis):

The pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum (HARRIS), a cosmopolitically distributed aphid, is specialized on various plant species from the family Leguminosae. The pea aphid complex encompasses distinct races highly specialized on various legume species: there are pea aphid races that are able to live on several legume plant species, some are able to live on just a few legume plant species and some are able to live only on one single legume species. This ecological specialization, which leads to the formation of what is known as “host-races”, can be considered as the first step towards sympatric speciation. Host fidelity (the tendency to feed and reproduce on a particular host) and therefore assortative mating seems to be a key mechanism which reduces gene flow between host-races on different hosts.
In my project, I will characterize plant factors that could act as “barriers” for gene flow in pea aphid races and force sympatric speciation within the pea aphid complex.
last updated on 2011-04-13