Julie Collet

Julie Collet

session, year:
2015 2nd

Former fellow

Receiving laboratory:
CBGP Centre for Biology and Management of Populations, Montpellier

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Mobility project

Unravelling the genetic covariance structure of resistance traits expressed in different life stages of a model pest insect to design sustainable biocontrol strategies.

The design of sustainable biocontrol strategies requires taking into account the evolutionary response of pests against biocontrol agents (i.e. predators and parasites). The emergence of pest counter-adaptation critically depends on the costs associated with the defence against these agents. However, costs expressed in life stages that are not attacked by focal biocontrol agents have been largely overlooked. The genetic architecture of resistance traits expressed at different stages needs investigating to reveal whether shared genetic control leads to coupled evolution among traits separated by metamorphosis. The aim of the project is to survey the extent of genetic coupling across metamorphosis of many traits, in particular those involved in immune defence. We will use state-of-the-art quantitative genetics applied to transcriptomics data and artificially selected lines to investigate the extent of genetic co-variance across metamorphosis, using a model species Drosophila melanogaster. First, I am studying the transcriptome of larvae and adults of in bred lines of D. melanogaster within the G-matrix framework to reveal the evolutionary coupling between life stages in numerous traits. Focusing on resistance traits, I can evaluate the costs of resistance in response to different biocontrol agents targeting specific stages of a pest. Second, I am using artificially selected lines that are resistant to a parasitoid. By studying whether adult resistance traits are affected by the selection regime, I will reveal the genetic constraints of defence functions between life stages, to help identify the most evolutionary sustainable bioagent to fight against pests with several life stages.

Biography & research interests

I am an evolutionary biologist investigating genetic constrains on phenotype evolution. I am particularly interested in how pleiotropy between traits separated by life-stages, and traits alternatively expressed in males and females, limit the response to the different selection forces experienced during life and between sexes.
After I completed my PhD in zoology, exploring the quantification of sexual selection in the red jungle fowl at the University of Oxford (UK), I held a post-Doctoral position combining bioinformatics and quantitative genetics to study the evolution of sexual antagonism in fruit flies at the University College London (UK). I then worked at the University of Queensland (Australia) to explore transcriptome-wide mutational pleiotropy and the action of sexual selection on new mutations, developing innovative methods to analyse thousands of traits simultaneously. I then led a two-year AgreenSkills Plus fellowship at the CBGP, INRA, Montpellier, France aiming at estimating the genetic covariance of gene expression traits in different life stages in Drosophila. I am currently a Marie Curie fellow at the Center of Functional Ecology and Evolution, CNRS, Montpellier, France, investigating how sexual selection can help controlling an invasive pest species using a combination of artificial selection and multivariate mate choice experiments.

Selected publications

Collet J. M., McGuigan K., Allen S. L., Chenoweth S. F., and M. W. Blows, 2018. Mutational pleiotropy and the strength of stabilizing selection within and between functional modules of gene expression. Genetics. Doi: 10.1534/genetics.118.300776

Collet J. M., Fuentes S., Hesketh J., Hill M. S., Innocenti P., Morrow E.H., Fowler K., and M. Reuter, 2016. Rapid evolution of the inter-sexual genetic correlation for fitness in Drosophila melanogaster. Evolution 70 (4): 781-795.

Collet J. M., Blows M. W., and K. McGuigan, 2015. Transcriptome-wide effects of sexual selection on the fate of new mutations. Evolution 69 (11):2905-2916.

Collet J. M. and M. W. Blows, 2014. “Female mate choice predicts paternity success in the absence of additive genetic variance for other female paternity bias mechanisms in Drosophila serrata. J Evol Biol 27 (11): 2568-2572.

Collet J., Richardson D., Worley K., and T. Pizzari, 2012. Sexual selection and the differential effect of polyandry. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109 (22): 8641-8645

Awards & patents

2018/2020 Marie-Curie Individual-Fellowship. Reintegration panel. €173,076. Rated 96/100;

2016/2018 Agreenskills fellowship. Ranked second best Incoming project. AgreenSkills is an international postdoctoral fellowship programme co-funded by the European Union and coordinated by INRA , in collaboration with Agreenium-IAVFF , the French national higher education and research consortium. The programme promotes international mobility for experienced young and independent researchers to develop challenging basic or targeted research projects in the fields of agriculture, food, nutrition, environment, and animal health;

2006/2009 BBSRC Studentship. I received a fees only award (in open competition) due to non-UK residency. Independently I obtained all the funds necessary for my stipend for the duration of my studies;

2007/2008 Light Senior Scholarship from St. Catherine's College. Small grant (£350) awarded to the best candidates across disciplines, open to all Graduate students of the University of Oxford;

2006 ASAB Conference Grant: Award to help postgraduate students, and others, attend ASAB conferences.

Talks in annual meetings

Genetic covariance of resistance traits in different life stages
2018 / P3 Population and Ecosystems,P6 Applied Maths / by Julie Collet / Fellows Speed Presentation


Pest, Invasion, Drosophila suzukii, pleiotropy, life stages, resistance, biocontrol, G-matrix, immunity, adaptation