Insect Biotechnology in Plant Protection
- Prof. Dr. Marc F. Schetelig
Office: TIG / 2.41
Tel.: +49 641/99-35900
Institute for Insect Biotechnology
Department of Insect Biotechnology in Plant Protection
Winchester Str. 2
*** NEWS ***
2020-10 | *** Our Special Issue in the Journal of Integrative Agriculture is now open for submissions until March 2022***
Our edited by Ying Yan, Max Scott, and Marc F. Schetelig, is now open for submissions. This issue welcomes original research or review articles focusing on genome research or molecular tools that could facilitate the development of genetic control strategies for agricultural pests. In addition, it also accepts articles that address the regulation of genetic control approaches in different countries or regions. For more details about topics and submission guidelines, please . We are looking forward to your contributions!
2021-01 | Nature Communications: White pupae phenotype is caused by parallel mutations of a MFS transporter
Sterile Insect Technique programs are environment-friendly and species-specific insect pest control actions that enable minimizing insecticides in the field. Relying on the mass releases of sterilized male insects, the cost-effective and preferably automated removal of females from the rearing cultures before releases, also called 'sexing', is a key feature for an efficient SIT program.
The discovery of a spontaneous mutation, white pupae, facilitated constructing the first ‘genetic sexing strain’ for a major horticultural pest, Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean fruit fly) (~1985). In contrast to the natural brown pupal case, white pupae mutants show a vibrant white puparium. Linked to the sex chromosome, this phenotype becomes exclusive for female pupae and enables automated sex sorting. However, the molecular basis of the trait remained unknown, and the generation of sexing strains in other species further relied on the discovery of spontaneous mutations.
In the herewith presented publication, we used classical and modern genetic approaches like introgression, NGS, genome- and transcriptome analysis, in situ hybridization, and gene editing, to identify and functionally characterize the white pupae gene in three distantly related fruit fly species. Furthermore, we showed that CRISPR/Cas9 HDR mediated targeted mutagenesis established in our lab in 2018 allowed to rapidly generate white pupae mutants in other species - the basis to build new genetic sexing strains. Want to know more? Read our latest publication in Nature Communications, Ward*, Aumann* et al. (2021)
- The Department
General research topics of the Department of Insect Biotechnology in Plant Protection are developmental biology, the development of pest control systems and the evaluation and comparison of transgenic systems for the improvement of integrated pest management. Besides, we are interested in research on risk management and safety aspects, e.g., in the field of Gene Editing, Genome targeting, and Gene Drives.
The Professorship hosted two junior research groups. The first one, an Emmy-Noether-Group, funded by the German Research Foundation, dealt with the risk assessment and evaluation of transgenic insects at Justus-Liebig University Gießen. The second one, a »Fraunhofer Attract« group, was funded by the Fraunhofer Society and worked on the development of new pest control technologies for agriculture and against invasive insects like the cherry vinegar fly, Drosophila suzukii. The Department has developed several new techniques in the area of pest control and expression systems for optimized protein production in insects in the future. Our group has participated in two LOEWE centers, the LOEWE DRUID and the LOEWE ZIB, both funded by the Hessian Ministry of Education and the Arts, and has contributed significantly to the establishment of a new and independent research institute, the Fraunhofer IME, in Gießen between 2013 and 2019.
- Team Profile
Our 'Insect Pest and Vector Control' team consist of highly motivated colleagues from students to PI´s that are interested in biological questions on agricultural, veterinary and medicine-related pest insects with the ultimate goal to protect the biodiversity of our planet and protect livestock, plants, and humans from severe diseases.
We promote the scientific work skills of researchers and students through the participation in conferences and events related to their research topics and are interested in communicating our findings to the press. Organizing our scientific retreats and scientific writing workshops is something that lets us develop in many more ways than science and doing this as a group is very enjoyable.
We are actively engaged in the JLU Gießen community and help to shape career development in our group but also for others through mentoring and supervision by the PIs, organizing seminar series and networking activities, and are heading a section in the Giessen Graduate Centre for the Lifesciences (GGL) for Ph.D. and Postdoc development.
We do love basic research and applied projects together with industry partners and are thankful that the technologies we are developing are within the most environmentally friendly options and techniques that exist nowadays for controlling insect pest populations. In this respect, we are not only considering and are interested in the actual experiments, hypotheses and the development of the systems but very much also in the cross talk of scientific fields in terms of risk, safety, ethics as well as dual-use assessments.
In short, we are happy to have great partners and collaborators that work with us on large projects for many years already to bring science and technology forward together, and we are glad to hear from enthusiastic researchers that would like to join our team.
- Join us!
We always seek highly motivated PhD students and postdoctoral researchers.
To apply, please send an e-mail to Marc Schetelig containing a motivation letter, a short CV with list of publications and other achievements, as well as the names and e-mail addresses of 2 to 4 mentors who agreed to provide a short letter of recommendation on your behalf (as one single PDF).
- Our Master of Science Program: 'Insect Biotechnology & Bioresources'
APPLICATION PORTAL FOR THE MASTER PROGRAM IS OPEN UNTIL September 2020!
Since 2017, our new master's program has been launched in cooperation with the JLU Gießen faculties 'Biology & Chemistry' (FB08), the (FB09) and the THM University of Applied Sciences.
The English master program will combine profession-oriented training and scientific research in the fields of agriculture, natural product research, food technology, and bioprocess engineering. Students will learn about entomology and ecology of insects as well as various methodical and practical research approaches to investigate insects and their associated organisms as a new resource for food, enzymes, and bioactive natural products. Press for more information.