Biology Seminar Series

Virtual Event Monday, March 15, 2021 at 3:00pm to 4:00pm

March 15th -Monika Gulia-Nuss; University of Nevada, Reno: An overview of Tick Genetics and Genomics.

Ticks inhabit almost every continent and have proven resilient and persistent in the environment. Ticks differ vastly from hematophagous insects, such as mosquitoes, black flies, sand flies, tsetse flies, and fleas, where only the adults—and often only females—feed on blood. Therefore, only adults can acquire an infectious blood meal from infected animals. In contrast, ticks are obligated blood-feeders at all stages of their life-cycle, which makes them adept at transmitting pathogens at various stages. Furthermore, as the tick feeds for extended periods (3-10 days), it interacts with its vertebrate host and could suppress the host’s immune system by dampening down the immune response. Understanding tick biology; therefore, is an important research area. Functional genomics research in ticks primarily depends upon an RNA interference (RNAi) for gene knockdown studies. However, RNAi has limitations and is not always suitable for functional analysis of candidate genes. Targeted gene knockout and knock-in approaches are therefore highly desirable to investigate tick gene functions. The CRISPR/Cas9 genetic manipulation system is revolutionizing the field of biology including entomology by enabling the genetic transformation of diverse arthropods. My lab focuses on developing genetic manipulation methods for ticks. Our recent work suggests that embryonic development in ticks is different from insects such as mosquitoes and the methods available for insects are not directly transferable to ticks. Therefore, a method for germline transformation in ticks is urgently needed to facilitate an understanding of tick genetics, biochemistry, development, and behavior, and promote the development of new methods, to manage populations of these pest species.

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Meetings, Lectures and Conferences


College of Arts, Sciences, and Education, Biological Sciences


#SeminarSeries; Biology;

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Nancy Winterburg

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