Jessica West

GFI Fellow - Class of 2015

Undergraduate Student, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
UC Davis


Using Genomics to Guide Management of a Major Crop Pest, the Spotted Wing Drosophila


The Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) is a vinegar fly that was introduced to California in 2008 and has since become a major invasive pest in the United States and other regions of the world. This insect uses a serrated ovipositor to slice through the skin of fresh fruit and lay its eggs inside, where the larvae feed until maturation. I am sequencing transcriptomes from various populations of SWD in order to identify insecticide resistance in this species and also determine invasion history.

View poster (PDF)


The objectives of this project include: 1) identifying insecticide resistance mechanisms in this pest, and 2) determining invasion history and genetic lineages of SWD populations to help guide biological control strategies. A major goal of this cross-disciplinary project is to bring genomic techniques to the field of integrated pest management, where these tools are often underutilized. There is much potential for development of molecular biology and genomics techniques for use in applied pest management strategies to lead to more sustainable practices.

Future Plans

I plan to continue my work on the Spotted Wing Drosophila until I graduate with a bachelor's degree from UC Davis in spring 2016.


Joanna Chiu