Title: Moving diapause biomarkers from the laboratory to the field: Will they make it? Author
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 31, 2007
Publication Date: August 19, 2007
Citation: Yocum, G.D. 2007. Moving diapause biomarkers from the laboratory to the field: Will they make it?. Proceedings of International Congress of Insect Biotechnology and Industry. Entomological Research 37(Suppl. 1):A18. Technical Abstract: Biomarkers, from the color and texture of Mendel’s peas to mutations of p53 that indicate cancer risk, have a long history in the biological sciences. With the development of molecular biology, genetic biomarkers have taken on an ever-increasing role as molecular biomarkers. The use of gene expression patterns and polymorphisms as biomarkers has the advantages of sensitivity, the potential for automated screening, and the illumination of evolutionary relationships. For a gene(s) to be functional as a biomarker it should be specific, reproducible and (ideally) amenable to being combined with other genes in a multiple gene assay such as a multiplex PCR. To insure accurate comparison between experiments, control genes must be identified and incorporated. Our goals in developing diapause molecular biomarkers are: 1) Developing a more thorough understanding of diapause regulation; 2) Providing the means for greater interdisciplinary investigation of diapause, e.g., between molecular biologists and field biologists; 3) Improving storage strategies for agriculturally important insects; 4) Improving the management of solitary bee species used for pollination; 5) Increasing the accuracy of modeling insect populations; 6) Contributing to our understanding of how insect species’ geographic ranges will shift due to climate change. We are currently investigating the molecular regulation of diapause in the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata; the sugarbeet root maggot, Tetanops myopaeformis; and the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata. The results from these investigations have established that although the expression of some diapause genes may persist after diapause termination and that considerable variation in gene expression levels exist between individuals, a small subset of genes appear to be tightly coupled to diapause and are not influenced by environmental factors. Even at this early stage of establishing diapause biomarkers it is clear that to produce an accurate picture of diapause development under field conditions there will need to be extensive testing to insure specificity of the biomarkers and that multiple biomarker assays with appropriate controls will be required to capture the complexity of diapause development.