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Noah Whiteman

Date & Location: February 1, 2021, at 4p; Virtual visit

Subject: My model organism eats your model organism: Evolution of a Drosophila that attacks Arabidopsis

Host: Gregg Howe

About the Speaker

University University of California-Berkeley

Research Interests: Research in in the Whiteman laboratory focuses on understanding how species interactions drive adaptation. Two research themes fall under this larger umbrella:

  • The first theme focuses on understanding how species interactions can act to maintain genetic variation within populations. 
  • The second theme focuses on understanding how toxins mediate species interactions. Specifically, how toxins evolve, how they are perceived, resisted and even co-opted. Toxins of biological origin can become keystone molecules, supporting the evolution and integration of diverse phenotypic modules in animals. The evolution of toxicity transforms animals from cryptic to conspicuous, nocturnal to diurnal, small to big, fast to slow, solitary to social, local to widespread, neglectful to doting parents and short- to long-lived. But toxicity is not only restricted to gaudy animals. A parallel transformation unfolded as cells of the animal immune system became armed with an arsenal of novel toxins.