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My PhD thesis focuses on the degradation of plant cell wall polysacchrides through endogenous enzymes produced by beetles of the families Chrysomelidae (leaf beetles) and Curculionidae (weevils). My core research targets putative cellulases of the glycoside hydrolase family 45 (GH45). My research questions are: Are GH45s truly cellulases or have other functions evolved ? How have GH45 evolved within beetles? Are they ancestral or have they been acquired by horizontal gene transfer? What is the benefit for the insect to express GH45s? Understanding these questions will help us to better understand the evolution of gene acquisition. It also gives us the opportunity to find novel enzymes which can be utilised to produce biofuels.
last updated on 2018-01-10