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Science AMA Series: I’m Chris Jones here to talk about the genetics of ‘high-flying insects’ and what drives the long-distance migrations of some of our most important insect pests. AMA!
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Hello Reddit! I’m Chris Jones, BBSRC Future Leader Fellow at Rothamsted Research in the UK. At 14 I wanted to be a soccer player. At 32 I am not a soccer player but instead spend my time attaching insects to pieces of wire. How did this come to pass? Biologist? Molecular entomologist? Molecular ecologist? It’s hard to know what box I tick. But what I do know is that I am interested in researching the genetic basis of the fascinating migrations of insects, and more specifically, insects of agricultural importance. Every year billions of insects take to the skies migrating vast distances to find suitable habitats in which to breed. Forgoing food and reproduction, these journeys are arduous and risky, but the rewards are high. These migrations are often multi-generational - in other words - the offspring inherently know when and where to go. But what is the genetic programme that drives this behaviour? What are the genes involved? And how can we study this in the lab? The goal of my research is to understand the ‘migratory gene package’ in greater detail. So go ahead. Ask me anything. I will be back at 4pm BST. In the meantime you are welcome to find out more about me and my work in a blog entry I recently wrote for Rothamsted Research’s ‘A day in the life of a Research Scientist’http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/day-life-dr-chris-jones blog series. I’ll be back at 11 am ET to answer your questions, ask me anything! POST-AMA Hi all, it’s 6pm and time to catch what’s left of the UK spring evening. Thanks for all your questions on insect migration. Some really good questions. Thoroughly enjoyed it! Sorry I haven’t answered everything. I will come back and answer a few more tomorrow. If you are interested more in the work I/we do here in the Insect Migration Group at Rothamsted then please find our contact info in the usual places. Enjoy the rest of your Monday folks. All the best.