The Wheat lab is looking for Master’s students interested in learning about the chemical warfare between butterflies and their plants. We work with live butterflies, sequence their genomes, and manipulate their genomes using the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tool.

Here we show a Pieris rapae caterpillar feeding upon cabbage.

Currently we are working on Genome-wide association studies, linking variation in feeding on different Arabidopsis thaliana plants with genetic variation at the highlighted genes. Using whole genome sequencing, either of many plants, or many butterflies, we are using these genomic tools to find the genes in both the plants and the insects that mediate their chemical warfare and co-evolution. Learn more in the Co-evolution section on the Wheat lab website or see these publications: 

Depending on the interests of the student, research can involve:

  • working with live butterflies
  • using molecular biology to manipulate gene function
  • bioinformatic analysis of genomic data to identify genetic variation related to how butterflies detoxify plant poisons.

Our goal will be to both train students and generate high-quality data that will result in published work and a high-quality Master’s thesis.  

For more information, please contact Chris at:
Read more about the lab: here!