Dr. Omaththage P Perera
Southern Insect Management Research Unit
141 Experiment Station Road
P.O. Box 346
Stoneville, MS 38776
Office: (662) 686-5248
Fax: (662) 686-5421
Dr. Perera's research program currently focuses on studying population genetics of three major pests of cotton in the Mid-South, namely Helicoverpa zea(bollworm/corn earworm), Heliothis virescens(tobacco budworm), and Lygus lineolaris(Tarnished plant bug). He has developed molecular markers based on simple sequence repeats (SSRs or microsatellites), inter-simple sequence repeats (ISSRs), and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for all three species and has conducted population genetic studies. He has developed bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries for corn earworm and tarnished plant bug and is developing physical maps of these two species. He has also initiated transcriptome sequencing of all three species to identify SNP markers suitable for population genetic and genetic mapping studies.
Transcriptome data are also being used to develop microarrays to profile gene expression under various experimental conditions. Dr. Perera has used a microarray developed for tobacco budworm to profile gene expression in tobacco budworm larvae fed on Bacillus thuringiensis(Bt) toxins.
Dr. Perera’s goal is to develop baseline data on genetic characteristics of cotton pest populations to assist effective implementation of resistance management practices. His collaborative research efforts include studies on migratory patterns of bollworm [Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and Mississippi State University (MSU)], population genetics of tarnished plant bug (PSU & MSU), and gene expression in response to Bt toxin ingestion [University of Tennessee].