Mentor: Greg Davis
Most aphids alternate between sexual and asexual reproduction in response to differences in photoperiod. Juvenile hormone (JH) is thought to be involved in the change from sexual to asexual reproduction after photoperiod sensing. Application of JH is known to induce asexual morphs but the precise role of JH in specifying asexual fate is still unclear. While differences in embryonic JH may prove to be an early marker of differentiation, another approach to the sexual/asexual switch is to identify differential gene expression. Here, I investigate the nature of the molecular switch that specifies sexual versus asexual fate during embryonic development as well as attempt to identify genes that are differentially expressed during early specification and subsequent differentiation.