April 7th & 14th: James Ryan

SNACKS & "Who is Who": Lia and Eleanor 


Behavior paper:

Harrington LC, Deman JD, Scott TW (2001) Why Do Female Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) Feed Preferentially and Frequently on Human Blood? J. Med. Entomol. 38(3): 411-422.

Genomics paper:

McBride CS, Aman FB, Omondi B, S Spitzer SA, Lutomiah J, Sang R, Ignell R & Vosshal LB (2014) Evolution of mosquito preference for humans linked to an odorant receptor. Nature. 315:232:237.

Questions for reading (students must turn in sets 4 throughout semester):

  1. Create a list of terms and methods that are new to you and do some research to understand them better.

  2. What is a preference index, and how is it calculated? Compare the method for determining host preference in this paper to the method used in last week’s behavior paper (Table 3, Harrington et al., 2001) and describe any significant differences between the two.

  3. Think about the putative adaptive benefits of being a human-preferring mosquito we talked about in last week's conference, and then speculate about why some mosquitoes show a robust preference for non-humans.

  4. Of the 14 genes significantly different in both F2 and colony comparisons (see Figure 3), why did the authors choose to focus their study on only one of them (Or4)? Do you agree with this decision?

  5. Briefly summarize the major components of Figure 4. Looking at a, b, and c, why do the authors express and test AaegOr4 in a Drosophila olfactory neuron rather than using a mosquito neuron?

  6. Big papers like these often have useful and interesting figures that are relegated to the supplementary materials section due to journal page limits. Choose a figure from the Extended Data and Figures section and describe how it was put together, what its take-home message is, and whether you agree with the author's choice to place it in the Supplement.

  7. Where do we go next? Think of a possible future direction that emerges from the conclusions of this paper, and briefly suggest an experiment to address it.