Guest Talk: Molecular evolution of the sensory system in mosquitoes by Julien Devilliers

Thursday, 16. May 2024
14:00 - 0:00



Julien Devilliers

Mosquitoes are a vector of diseases and responsible for about 700,000 deaths each year. Due to the emergence of resistance in old vector control techniques, new studies try to identify innovative ways to control mosquito populations, especially using gene drive. However, the genetic basis of hematophagy (i.e., blood feeding behaviour) leading to the spreading of disease remain unknown.
Using phylogenomic analysis, we identified duplication of various gene families linked to the emergence of blood feeding in mosquitoes and sand-flies. We then tried to characterise differences in both sensory system and its integration between biting females and non-biting. Combining whole head single cell RNA-sequencing, microscopy, and eye bulk transcriptomics, we are investigating the evolution of the sensory system, especially vision, in the malaria mosquito (Anopheles gambiae) and the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti).

Julien Devilliers is an entomologist who did his BSc in ecology and ethology at the Université Jean Monnet (Saint-Étienne, France), working on the systematic of Perisphaerus genus (Blaberidae, Perisphaerinae). He then pursued his studies at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (Paris, France) doing an MSc in evolutionary biology and systematic. His MSc work focused on the evolution of vision and blue iridescence of the blue Morpho butterflies. Julien is now a PhD student at the University of Leicester (UK), investigating the molecular evolution of the sensory system in mosquitoes.