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Host effect on phenotypic plasticity and epigenetic markers of Anastrepha fraterculus (Diptera Tephritidae) fruit flies

Grant number: 21/01364-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2022
Effective date (End): January 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Animal Genetics
Principal Investigator:Reinaldo Otávio Alvarenga Alves de Brito
Grantee:Beatriz Faustino Lima
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


The fraterculus group of fruit fly species, which belong to the genus Anastrepha (Diptera: Tephritidae), has great economic importance, because it is highly polyphagous and bears a large number of generalist species and pests that oviposit on different fruits. In general, these species are separate by morphological taxonomy, however the limits of this differentiation are difficult to be determined due to the great plasticity found in these markers in the same species, or in a population. This phenotypic variation may occur due to the action of epigenetic factors, since these changes may be related to environmental stimuli that trigger rapid responses. This work aims to compare populations of Anastrepha fraterculus from different locations that use different fruits, in order to investigate the presence of plasticity in different morphological traits, as well as to explore whether or not this variation is associated with epigenetic marks. For this purpose, individuals from different populations around Curitiba and in the State of São Paulo will be studied. These populations will encompass individuals from different localities and distinct hosts, in order to investigate the presence of epigenetic marks through sequencing using the Oxford Nanopore MinION. We will also analyze morphometry and plasticity quantitative genetics parameters on these specimens and populations in order to estimate variance/covariance matrices for different morphological traits which will allow us to estimate selection vectors and phenotypic plasticity in responses to different hosts. These results will be useful for understanding the influence of certain fruits on the phenotypic plasticity of different traits and the role epigenetics may have on the determination of these parameters. (AU)

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