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Aphid Genome Annotation Workshop

Beijing, China

On 7 July, I visited the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (hosted by Dr Julian Chen) and presented a seminar entitled "The role of aphid saliva in overcoming plant defences" to a group of scientists and students, which included the results from my CRC project on Russian wheat aphid virulence evolution.


On 8-9 July, I visited the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology (IOZ) to discuss the new CRC PhD project examining the genetics of Russian wheat aphid populations in China (scheduled to begin in January 2009).  The student selected for the project, Ms Zhang Bo, presented to local supervisor Dr Kang Le and myself: (1) a summary of background information on Russian wheat aphid in China, (2) a description of the proposed project activities, and (3) a list of potential problems/issues that may arise during the project. 


I also discussed with Dr Kang the possible involvement of the IOZ in two new CRCNPB proposals.  The first proposal is an extension of the existing RWA virulence project, and I proposed to Dr Kang that the postdoc on the current project (Dr Cui Feng, Kansas State University) become a supervisor on the new project after she returns to the IOZ as a research scientist in July 2009.  I also proposed the involvement of IOZ aphid molecular systematics expert Dr Qiao Ge-Xia in a new aphid molecular diagnostics project.  Dr Kang was very receptive to both proposals.


Princeton, USA

On 14-15 July, I attended the Pea Aphid Genome Annotation Workshop at Princeton University.  Also in attendance were more than 60 members of the international aphid genomics consortium.  This workshop provided an excellent opportunity to showcase CRCNPB research to the international aphid research community.  New collaborative opportunities were discussed with international experts on aphid saliva including James Carolan (University College, Dublin), Stephanie Jaubert and Denis Tagu (INRA, Rennes), and Stephane Blanc (INRA, Montpellier).  After participating in annotation training, I led an annotation group discussion focussed on the annotation of proteases and carbohydrases, which includes many salivary enzymes.  CRC participants Dr Gerald Reeck and Dr Cui Feng (Kansas State University) are also contributing to this same annotation group. 


My attendance at this workshop and my contributions to the annotation effort will guarantee my inclusion as an author on the high profile publication of the aphid genome during 2009. I will also be a co-author on at least one companion paper.  The CRC contribution to these aphid genomics activities will be acknowledged by its inclusion in the address list of contributing organisations in these high profile publications.


When: July 2008
Location: Princeton, USA
In July, Dr Owain Edwards travelled to Princeton, via Beijing, China for the Aphid Genome Annotation Workshop.