Jennifer A. Brisson

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DNA methylation is a fundamental epigenetic mark known to have wide-ranging effects on gene regulation in a variety of animal taxa. Comparative genomic analyses can help elucidate the function of DNA methylation by identifying conserved features of methylated genes and other genomic regions. In this study, we used computational approaches to distinguish(More)
BACKGROUND A molecular process based genotype-to-phenotype map will ultimately enable us to predict how genetic variation among individuals results in phenotypic alterations. Building such a map is, however, far from straightforward. It requires understanding how molecular variation re-shapes developmental and metabolic networks, and how the functional(More)
Phenotypic plasticity, the production of alternative phenotypes (or morphs) from the same genotype due to environmental factors, results in some genes being expressed in a morph-biased manner. Theoretically, these morph-biased genes experience relaxed selection, the consequence of which is the buildup of slightly deleterious mutations at these genes. Over(More)
When females can reproduce without males, do males become an evolutionarily weaker sex whose genes experience mutational decay? We addressed this hypothesis in aphids, whose reproduction alternates between parthenogenetic and sexual forms: Over the course of a year, there can be 10 to 20 generations of asexual females but only a single, if any, generation(More)
The pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, exhibits several environmentally cued polyphenisms, in which discrete, alternative phenotypes are produced. At low-density, parthenogenetic females produce unwinged female progeny, but at high-density females produce progeny that develop with wings. These alternative phenotypes represent a solution to the competing(More)
Environmental conditions can alter the form, function, and behavior of organisms over short and long timescales, and even over generations. Aphid females respond to specific environmental cues by transmitting signals that have the effect of altering the development of their offspring. These epigenetic phenomena have positioned aphids as a model for the(More)
BACKGROUND The pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, is an emerging genomic model system for studies of polyphenisms, bacterial symbioses, host-plant specialization, and the vectoring of plant viruses. Here we provide estimates of nucleotide diversity and linkage disequilibrium (LD) in native (European) and introduced (United States) populations of the pea aphid.(More)
Genetic model organisms have gifted researchers with a breathtakingly detailed understanding of the most intimate aspects of their genomes, cells, and development. And yet there is a problem—model organisms have been selected because they have simple life histories and happily inhabit laboratories. In short, they make a virtue of being boring. But the(More)
Environmental stress affects basic organismal functioning and can cause physiological, developmental, and reproductive impairment. However, in many nonmodel organisms, the core molecular stress response remains poorly characterized and the extent to which stress-induced transcriptional changes differ across qualitatively different stress types is largely(More)