Dr. Jackson Sparks, interim chair and assistant professor of biology, recently contributed a chapter to the textbook “Insect Pheromone Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (second edition).” The chapter, titled Reflections on antennal proteins: the evolution of pheromone binding proteins; diversity of pheromone degrading enzymes; and the distribution and behavioral roles of SNMPs, reviews proteins involved in the detection of odorants by insects. It discusses the origins, evolution and uniqueness of the genes insects use to sense their external world and evaluate these genes as potential targets for insect control.
“I am proud to help advance our understanding of insect biology,” said Sparks. “This work puts us one step closer to curbing the spread of insect-borne pathogens. HPU students are following up on this chapter by conducting behavioral experiments in the insectary inside the Wanek School of Natural Sciences.”