A tale of two tissues: Probing gene expression in a complex insect-induced gall

Jack C. Schultz, Graham N Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Plant galls are novel and sometimes dramatic plant organs whose development is initiated and controlled by parasitic microbes, nematodes, insects and mites. For arthropods, galls provide relative safety from enemies and abiotic stresses while providing nutrition (Stone and Schonrogge 2003). Galls are formed entirely by the plant, whose transcriptional pathways are modified and co-opted to produce a structure specific to the galler species; they comprise a classic example of Dawkins’ “extended phenotype” (Stone and Schonrogge 2003). Arthropod-elicited galls are unique in that they are often anatomically complex (Fig 1A), with multiple differentiated tissue types (Fig 1B). A growing number of investigators have studied changes in hostplant gene expression to understand arthropod gall development. In this issue of Molecular Ecology Martinson et al. (2022) report using RNA sequencing to explore tissue-specific gene expression associated with anatomical and functional gall complexity, demonstrating for the first time that gall tissues are as different transcriptionally as they are anatomically.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
JournalMolecular Ecology
Early online date25 Apr 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Apr 2022


  • plant gall
  • oak
  • gene expression
  • cynipidae
  • gall wasp
  • dryocosmus quercuspalustris


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