Human phenotype, the set of characteristics manifested by a living organism, is determined by genetic information expression dependent on genome, epigenome and microbiome. There is a kind of bidirectionality between humans and their genome with significant influence by environment and human behaviour. In the timeline of evolution we see that genetic modifications take millions of years to take place and consolidate, as per Darwinian principles, but environment and our habits are able much more rapidly to influence our phenotypic response, through epigenetic and microbiotic pathways, as per Lamarckian hypothesis (Fig. 1). Our habits (physical, psychological, environment) are able to determine changes in gene expression and potentially influence our children’s one. The evidence of these new concepts should be a further stimulus to a more conscious lifestyle.
Wolbachia, an obligate intracellular bacterium estimated to infect millions of arthropod species worldwide, is currently being utilized in novel control strategies to limit the transmission of Dengue and Zika viruses. A limitation for Wolbachia-based control approaches is the difficulty of transferring Wolbachia to novel hosts and the lack of tools for the genetic transformation of Wolbachia due to the inability to culture Wolbachia outside the insect host cell in an axenic media. Here, we applied extracellular Wolbachia to phenotypic microarrays to measure the metabolic response of Wolbachia in media formulations with different pH levels and supplementation with Casamino acids. Results suggested a pH of 6.5–6.8 and showed that the supplementation of 1 mg/mL casamino acids increased the survival and longevity of Wolbachia in an axenic medium. In addition, phenotypic microarrays are a useful tool to measure the phenotypic response of Wolbachia under different media conditions, as well as determine specific components that may be required for an axenic medium. This study is an initial step toward the development of a potential Wolbachia axenic culture system.
Results of dose response bioassays 'in vivo' used to characterise the phenotypic response of pyrethroid resistant S. avenae in comparison to susceptible S. avenae, and two other cereal aphids, the rose-grain aphid (Metopholophium dirhodum) and the bird-cherry
– oat aphid (Rhopalosiphum padi), are used to measure levels of pyrethroid resistance. Aphid pests on cereals in the British Isles are predominantly controlled by pyrethroid insecticides, especially since the implementation of the recent ban on neonicotinoid seed treatments on
all outdoor crops. Resistance to pyrethroids has been detected in one of the main aphid pests, the grain aphid (Sitobion avenae), probably brought on by the sustained use of these pyrethroid sprays to control cereal aphids, which can transmit plant viruses, especially Barley Yellow
Dwarf Virus (BYDV). The withdrawal of several insecticide compounds (e.g. pirimicarb, dimethoate, chlorpyrifos and the aforesaid neonicotinoids) for cereal aphid control will probably increase the selection pressure, leading to increased levels of resistance in S. avenae, and, potentially,
the evolution of resistance in other cereal aphid species. In this article we present the results of dose response bioassays 'in vivo' used to characterise the phenotypic response of pyrethroid resistant S. avenae in comparison to susceptible S. avenae, and two other cereal
aphids, the rosegrain aphid (Metopholophium dirhodum) and the bird-cherry– oat aphid (Rhopalosiphum padi), in order to measure levels of pyrethroid resistance. At present, little is known about the extent of pyrethroid resistance in S. avenae beyond the UK and in
other cereal aphids. It therefore becomes increasingly important to monitor these pests to inform crop management decisions in light of the recent loss of other insecticides. The unintended consequences of the rapid withdrawal of insecticides, together with a failure to prepare and install
alternative products and control approaches in advance, will probably ultimately lead to the loss of effectiveness of insecticidal compounds like pyrethroids.