Dr. Melanie Unbehend

   Department of Entomology
   Chemical Communication
 Phone:+49 (0)3641 57 1565Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
 Fax:+49 (0)3641 57 1502Hans-Knöll-Straße 8
  emailD-07745 Jena

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Project “Sexual pheromonal polymorphism of Ostrinia nubilalis: The genetic basis of strain-specific male attraction”

The European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis, is an interesting model organism to study the evolution of sexual communication, as it consists of two distinct strains that differ in their production of and response to the female sex pheromone. The sex pheromone of the so-called Z- and E-strain consists of two pheromone components, i.e. (Z)-11-tetradecenyl acetate and (E)-11-tetradecenyl acetate, which are produced in a 97:3 Z:E ratio in the Z-strain, while E-strain females emit a 1:99 Z:E mixture. Due to the specificity of the pheromone composition, males mate assortatively with females of their own strain.

I'm investigating the genetic basis of the strain-specific attraction of males by conducting different backcrosses which exhibit recombination between the two genes that flank the major QTL for the male response (resp region on the Z chromosome). After the generation of homozygote backcross lines, I will conduct wind tunnel experiments and electrophysiological recordings (EAGs) to determine the phenotype of the recombinant lines.


  • GC analysis of sex pheromones
  • Wind tunnel assays
  • EAG recordings
  • Genotyping of backcross lines using Z-chromosomal markers


Teun Dekker, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, S

Fotini Koutroumpa, IEES Versailles, Fr
last updated on 2014-05-12