Min Wu

University of Basel
Department of Environmental Sciences
Evolution & Zoology
Vesalgasse 1
CH-4051 Basel


+41 (0)61 267 03 27

+41 (0)61 267 03 62


Min Wu

PhD student in the group of Dr Mathias Kölliker. Works on sociogenomics of cooperation and conflict in animal families, using the common European earwig (Forficula auricularia) as model species.

Current research

My current project is to test the evolutionary selection on traits that optimize parent-offspring co-adaptation from transcriptomic level, using next-generation sequencing technology. The experiments were carried out with European earwig (Faficula auricularia), a sub-social insect species, where females provide maternal cares. The offspring is partially dependent on the female but could also survive by self-foraging. The behavior and reproduction of females could be influenced by the behavior and chemical signals from the offspring. Therefore, it is an ideal model system to study the sociogenomics of cooperations and conflicts in animal families.

Previous research

The evolutionary relations between the three domains of life, Eukaryote, Bacteria and Archaea were studied in my master degree project, applying a bioinformatic approach. Based on a data set including all the prokaryotic proteomes which were currently available, the Eukaryotic Signature Proteins I found indicated that, the origin of eukaryotes could NOT be simply explained by the traditional theory as the fusion of ancient bacteria and archaea. A co-evolution of tRNA genes and their charging enzymes was found when all the mitochondrial genomes thus far completely sequenced were investigated in my project. This surprising result also challenged the traditional view of pure bacterial origin of mitochondria within the eukaryotic cells. One alternative theory proposed by Charles Kurland, consistent with my results, suggested that the eukaryotes are the group of lineages retained the cellular complexity of the ancestor of the three domains, the bacteria and the archaea evolved with fast growth rate and reduced genome size as their survival strategies.

Migratory locusts (Locust migratoria) are agricultural pests when they are in gregarious phase and behaving aggressively. However, if the locusts were in the solitary phase, they behave much more calm and in control. The transition between the two phases are density dependent and is heritable through generations. Therefore, the epigenetic mechanism of the phase transition is studied in my bachelor degree project. Transcription-regulation-related SNPs were found at the promoter region of insulin-like-peptide gene. These SNPs were related to splicing difference and tissue expression difference in the phase transition of locusts.

Curriculum vitae

Born in 1987 in Wenzhou, China.
2012 - present PhD student at the University of Basel, Kölliker group
2009 - 2011 M.S. In Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University
Thesis: “Origin of the eukaryotic cells”, Dept. Molecular Evolution, EBC, Uppsala
2005 - 2009 B.Sc. In Animal Science, China Agricultural University
Thesis: “DNA methylation of ILP gene promoter in locust”, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing