Nature Communications
| by Dave Angelini

Assistant Professor of Biology Dave Angelini has published a paper in the journal Nature Communications, one of the leading journals in biology. Angelini’s paper, “Manipulation of insulin signaling phenocopies evolution of a host-associated polyphenism,” is the result of a five-year research project conducted with students Meghan Fawcett ’16, Mary Parks ’16, Alice Tibbetts ’14, Jane Swart ’18, Laura Crowley ’13, Will Simmons ‘17J, and Wenzhen Stacey Hou ’18 and technicians Beth Richards and Juan Camilo Vanegas.

This study examines phenotypic plasticity, a variation in anatomy that is not due solely to genetic influence. Angelini’s lab established a novel model species for the study of phenotypic plasticity, the soapberry bug Jadera haematoloma, an insect that can grow to adulthood either with long functional wings or short wings, incapable of flight. The bugs are an ideal system for student research because they are amenable to lab and field study. The project is supported by a NSF Faculty Early Career Development award, which was featured in Colby Magazine in 2014. The study presents a uniquely integrative understanding of the generation and evolution of plasticity in wild populations.

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