Thomas uses broad-scale comparative genomics and population genomics to understand the macro- and micro-evolution of insect pests and their relatives.
In particular, he aims to understand the relationship between changes in an organism’s genome and the evolution of interesting and economically important phenotypes.
Currently, in his BBSRC Future Leader Fellowship, Thomas is using comparative genomics of aphids as a model to understand how some ‘generalist’ insect pests have evolved to colonise (and suppress the defences of) an extraordinarily diverse range of plant species, whilst other closely related species remain highly specialised.
In collaboration with Saskia Hogenhout at the John Innes Centre, Thomas combines evolutionary genomics with functional approaches to join up evolutionary understanding with mechanistic insight, with the aim to improve food security.
Mathers T. C., Chen Y., Kaithakottil G., Legeai F., Mugford S. T., Baa-Puyoulet P., Bretaudeau A., Clavijo B., Colella S., Collin O., Dalmay T., Derrien T., Feng H., Gabaldón T., Jordan A., Julca I., Kettles G. J., Kowitwanich K., Lavenier D., Lenzi P., Lopez-Gomollon S., Loska D., Mapleson D., Maumus F., Moxon S., Price D. R., Sugio A., van Munster M., Uzest M., Waite D., Jander G., Tagu D., Wilson A. C., van Oosterhout C., Swarbreck D., Hogenhout S. A.Rapid transcriptional plasticity of duplicated gene clusters enables a clonally reproducing aphid to colonise diverse plant species.Genome biology (18)Publisher's version: 10.1186/s13059-016-1145-3
Mathers T. C., Mugford S., Percival-Alwyn L., Chen Y., Kaithakottil G., Swarbreck D., Hogenhout S. A., van Oosterhout C.Sex-specific changes in the aphid DNA methylation landscapehttps://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2018/04/19/286302Publisher's version: 10.1101/286302
Drurey C. L., Mathers T. C., Prince D. C., Wilson C., Caceres-Moreno C., Mugford S. T., Hogenhout S. A.Chemosensory proteins in the CSP4 clade evolved as plant immunity suppressors before two suborders of plant-feeding hemipteran insects divergedhttps://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2017/08/11/173278Publisher's version: 10.1101/173278