Four-Year BBSRC/Industrial Funded PhD Programme
This proposal aims to investigate a variety of biological phenomena related to a unique genetic, sex determination system, characterised by elimination of the paternal chromosome set in early embryogenesis. This unique mode of reproduction, currently called pseudoarrhenotoky is ubiquitous within mites of the family Phytoseiidae. Pseudoarrhenotoky plays a major role in female choice and productivity of mites. However, during the past 30 years, research on phytoseiids productivity has majorly focused on examining and predicting the behaviour of females, while the cytological nature of pseudoarrhenotoky remains unknown. In addition to this unique sex determination system phytoseiids seem to harbour bacterial endosymbionts known to induce a variety of reproductive phenotypes in arthropods. By using state of the art methodologies even a few numbers of bacterial cells can be identified, host-symbiont associations can be studied during development and the nature of the host phenotypes addressed.
Phytoseiidae mites are important components of agricultural systems where, as predators, they assist with suppressing pest mite populations that affect crops. Through a better understanding of the biology of phytoseiid mites and the nature of their interactions with microorganisms, it is anticipated that horticultural practices may be further adapted to encourage their use in vulnerable crops. This project will allow the generation of new knowledge to be applied in industrial settings.
The research programme will give the student the opportunity to learn and train on modern techniques in genetics, cytogenetics, and molecular genetics; knowledge that can be further applied or extended to any organism including humans, or human genetics. Part of the project involves work on endosymbionts, a subject of interest in ecology of interactions, zoology and microbiology.
The studentship will take place at the University of Reading and the research will be conducted at the School of Biological Sciences, in the Acarology Lab. A student placement at the industrial partner facilities, for a minimum of 6 months, will allow carrying out surveys on mass reared Phytoseiidae.
Eligible candidates should complete a University of Reading postgraduate application form available from the APPLY ONLINE button below, and should submit it with supporting documents to the Admissions Office, University of Reading, Miller Building, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AB. In addition, please send a copy of your CV to: email@example.com.
Applicants should hold a minimum of a BSc Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent, in an appropriate subject. This is a 4-year BBSRC - Industry funded PhD studentship and will cover UK/EU Fees and pay the Research Council stipend for 4 years, commencing October 2012. Due to restrictions on the funding this studentship is only open to candidates from the UK/EU. EU residents must comply with the UK 'ordinarily resident' requirement of residing full time in the UK for the 3 years prior to the start of this studentship (further details from the University Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org ).
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