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Personal Information

Born 1984 in Xinxiang (Henan, China)

Nationality: Chinese



06.2018 – Now 

Postdoctoral research associate, Department of Biology, Amherst College, Amherst, MA, USA.

Project: Evolutionary genomics of mating-type chromosomes in Microbotryum fungi

08.2014 – 02.2018

Postdoctoral fellowship, Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Project: The evolutionary genomics of homomorphic sexchromosome in Ranidae frogs and Mercurialis annua plants

10.2009 – 12.2014

Ph.D., Evolutionary Genetics, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Project: Genetic and evolutionary consequences of Wolbachia-induced parthenogenesis in the parasitoid wasp Asobara    

10.2006 – 08.2009  

M.Sc., Evolutionary Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing & Menglun, China.

Project: Coevolution and reproductive success between fig and fig wasps in three dioecious Ficus species

09.2002 – 07.2006

B.S., Biological Science, Nanyang Normal University, Nanyang, China.

Research Interests

Evolutionary biology, evolution and genomics of sex chromosomes, sex determination, parthenogenesis, sexual conflict, sex allocation

Lab skills 

  • DNA extraction, RNA extraction, PCR, RACE-PCR, qPCR, RT-PCR, RAPD, microsatellite genotyping, gene sequencing, cloning, RADseq library preparation, MinION sequencing library preparation;
  • Flow cytometry, androgenesis;
  • Wasp culturing, frog rearing, plant propagation, genetic crosses, spermatheca dissection, etc.

Software (bioinformatics, genomic/sequencing data)

Statistics                               R

NGS data analysis               Linux, bash script, basic Python script; SNPs development, and linkage map construction; De novogenome assembly; Genome-wide poolseq analysis; De novotransciptome assembly; RNAseq gene expression data analysis; RADseq data analysis (de novo and with reference genome); Illumina (paired-end and mate pair libraries) sequencing assembly and MinION long reads sequencing assembly

Sanger sequencing data    MEGA, Chromas, BioEdit, Geneious

Genotype data                    GeneMapper, Structure

Genetic linkage map          MapDisto, MSTMap

Phylogenetics (genomics) Multiple genes, or genome-wide RAD markers with Stacks, PhyML, MrBayes

Flow cytometry                   WinMDI, BD FACSDiva™

qPCR                                      LinRegPCR

Grant, scholarships and awards


Received travel award from Society for the Study of Evolution to attend the 2018 Evolution joint congress in Montpellier, France, $500


My MSCA proposal “Guppy_Young_Y” was awarded the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Seal of Excellence. I wrote the proposal by myself, incoporating comments from Judith Mark.


Received funds from theUyttenboogaart-Eliasen Foundation to attend the XIV Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology, €500


Received award on participating in project on coevolution between figs and fig wasps (output from master study),  ¥1000.


Received a four-year Ubbo Emmius (Faculty) Scholarship to support my  PhD research at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, 2009-2014, €80,000


Winner of the best M. Sc. thesis award of DiAo (2nd prize) of CAS award – “Stability strategy of fig-fig wasp mutualism in three dioecious figs of Xishuangbanna” (in Chinese), ¥2000


Received an Outstanding Master-graduate award from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, CAS (Top 4%)


Received an Outstanding Undergraduate award from Nanyang Normal University (Top 1%)


Received a Second Class National Scholarship for Excellent Study (Top 0.1%), ¥3000

International activities and extended periods of study abroad


Visiting scholar, Université Paris-Sud, CNRS, Orsay, France


Postdoctoral research associate, Amherst College, Massachusetts, USA


Postdoctoral fellowship, University of Lausanne


My PhD proposal was funded by a Ubbo Emmius (faculty) Scholarship from University of Groningen.


Assisted in the organization ofthe seventh international symposium on fig and fig wasp at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, CAS, Yunnan, China

Conferences attending and presentations

  • Invited talk

“Evolution of homomorphic sex chromosomes, sex-biased gene expression in the common frogs”. Seminar for Department of Genetic and Ecology Evolution, Université Paris-Sud, Orsay, France, Sep 2018

  • Poster
  • “Y chromosome differentiation masculinises gene expression on sex chromosomes and correlates with faster male development”, Joint meeting of ESEB (European Society for Evolutionary Biology) and Evolution, Montpellier, France, Aug 2018
  • Poster

“Evolution and temporal dynamics of sex-biased gene expressions in the common frog with semi-differentiated sex chromosome”, Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology 2017, Groningen, The Netherlands, Aug 2017

  • Oral presentation

“A novel reproductive trait conferring high siring success is associated with postzygotic isolation in an annual plant”. Population Genetics Group Meeting 50, Cambridge, UK, Jan 2017

  • Oral presentation

“Characterization of Y chromosomes of varying differentiation levels by haploid genome sequencing in the common frog”, ‘Evolution of Sex Determination’ workshop, La Sage, Switzerland, July 2016

  • Invited talk

“Evolution of sex determination and sex chromosome”, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, June 2016

  • Flash talk & Poster

“Sex-chromosome differentiation covaries with polymorphism at the candidate sex-determination geneDmrt1in common frogs”. Swiss 2016 Biology meeting, University of Lausanne, Feb 2016

  • Oral presentation

Dmrt1polymorphism covaries with sex-differentiation patterns in the common frog”. Population Genetics Group Meeting 49, Edinburgh, UK, Dec 2015

  • Invited talk

“Sex determination and sexual decay in a parasitoid with Wolbachia-induced parthenogenesis”, University of Lausanne, ‘Nöthiger insect sex determination’ workshop, Lausanne, Switzerland, Aug 2015

  • Poster

“Polymorphism in the candidate sex determination gene Dmrt1covaries with sex-chromosome differentiation patterns in the common frog”, the XVth Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology 2015, Lausanne, Switzerland, Aug 2015

  • Oral presentation

“Evolutionary genetics of Wolbachia-induced parthenogenesis in the parasitoid Asobara”, University of Lausanne, ‘Genomics of asexual animals’ workshop, Lausanne, Switzerland, July 2014

  • Oral presentation

“Evolutionary and genetic consequences of Wolbachia-induced parthenogenesis in the parasitoid Asobara”, University of Lausanne, evolution of sex chromosome workshop, Lausanne, Switzerland, Mar 2014

  • Invited talk

“Genetic basis of decayed sexual traits in a parasitoid wasp”, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands, Oct 2013

  • Poster

“Genetic basis of sexual traits decay in a parasitoid wasp with endosymbiont-induced parthenogenesis”, the XIV Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology 2013, Lisbon, Protugal, Aug 2013

  • Oral presentation

“Genetics of decayed sexual traits in a parasitoid wasp with endosymbiont-induced parthenogenesis”, Insect sex determination workshop, Gif-sur-Yvette, Paris, France, June 2013

  • Oral presentation & convener

“Genetics of vestigialized sexual traits in an asexual wasp”, Netherlands Annual Ecology meeting (NAEM), Lunteren, Feb 2013

  • Oral presentation

“Genetics of decayed sexual traits in an asexual wasp”, Entomologen Dag, Ede, Dec 2012

  • Oral presentation

“How is sex determined in the parasitoid wasp genus Asobara”, Entomologen Dag, Ede, Dec 2011

  • Oral presentation

“Experimental test of sex determination in solitary parasitoid genus Asobara”, NEV herfstvergadering, Groningen, Nov 2011

  • Poster

“Absence of complementary sex determination in the parasitoid wasp genus Asobara”, Sixth International Symposium on Molecular Insect Science, Amsterdam, Oct 2011

  • Oral presentation

“No Complementary Sex Determination in the parasitoid wasp genus Asobara (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)”, European workshop on sex determination in insects, Amsterdam, Oct 2011

19) Poster

“Sex determining mechanisms in theAsobaragenus”, conference of Genetics, Epigenetics and Evolution of Sex Chromosomes, Paris, France, June 2011

  • Oral presentation

“Sex determining mechanisms in the Asobara genus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)”, Meeting of the Insect Parasitoid Special Interest Group of the Royal Entomological

Society, University of York, York, UK, Nov 2010

  • Poster

“Sex determining mechanisms in the Asobaragenus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)”, conference of Plant-Insect interaction workshop, Wageningen University, Wageningen,

Nov 2010

  • Oral presentation

“Sex determining mechanisms and the ecological consequences in the Asobaragenus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)”, collected wasp material and presented my work, Leiden University, Leiden, Feb 2010

  • Oral presentation

“Strategy of female flower resource consumption in dioecious fig species by fig wasps”, conference of “Biodiversity–Challenges to the New Century”, Jinghong, China, Nov 2007

Conference section organized

Organization of the session “Evolutionary Ecology: Genetics of Adaptation to Environmental Shift & Species interactions” at the Netherlands Annual Ecology meeting, Lunteren, Feb 2013

Institute PhD colloquia committee member and journal club organiser

Sept 2014-Sept 2016

Organizing journal club among three research groups with the theme of Reproductive System Dynamics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Oct 2012-Oct 2013

Organizing a monthly, institute-wide colloquia in the field of Evolution and Ecology, University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Courses taken during training

Apr 2018                     “NCGAS on de Novo Transcriptome Assembly” (Indiana University)

Sep 2017                         “Population Genetic Data Analysis” (University of Lausanne)

Mar 2017                        “SIB Python programming course” (University of Basel)

Oct 2016                         “De novoTranscriptome Assembly – Trinity ” (University of Bern)

Feb 2015                         “DNA methylation and methylome analysis with NGS” (University of Fribourg)

Dec 2014                         “Learning python for life sciences”, (University of Basel)

Sept 2014                        “High Performance Computing  (HPC) in Life Science” (University of Lausanne

June 2014                       “NGS genome & transcriptome assembly and analysis” (University of Fribourg

Oct-Nov2013                 “Writing a Grant Proposal” (University of Groningen)

Oct 2013                         “RNAseq Workshop” (University of Groningen)

Aug 2013                        “MGC NGS data analysis (7th ed)” (Medical Genetics Centre South-West Netherlands, MGC)

Nov 2011-Feb 2012      “Application of Genetic Methods in Ecology” (University of Groningen)

Sept 2011                         “Life History Theory” (University of Groningen)

Sept 2010-Mar 2011     “Dutch Level 2” (University of Groningen)

Mar –June 2010              “Dutch Level 1” (University of Groningen)

Mar 2010                         “Advanced Statistics using R”, (University of Groningen)

Feb 2010                          “Adaptive Dynamics” (University of Groningen)


Sep-Oct 2017                 TP assistant for “Molecular Genetics” (University of Lausanne)

Sep-Oct 2016                 TP assistant for “Molecular Genetics” (University of Lausanne)

Feb-June 2016               TP assistant for “Zoology” (University of Lausanne)

Jan 2016                         Review one M.Sc. student thesis

Sept-Oct 2015               TP assistant for “Molecular Genetics” (University of Lausanne)

Feb-June 2015               TP assistant for “Zoology” (University of Lausanne)

Sept 2014-Dec 2015     Supervised 1 M.Sc. project (University of Lausanne)

July-Sept 2015               Supervise 2 students of internship (University of Lausanne)

Sept-Oct 2014                TP assistant for “Molecular Genetics” (University of Lausanne)

Feb-June 2014                Supervised 1 student from NHL Hogeschool (Leeuwarden)

Feb 2014                          Supervised 2 M.Sc. students during the course “Animals meet Microbes”

Sept 2013-Jan 2014      Supervised 1 student from NHL Hogeschool (Leeuwarden)

Feb-Mar 2013                 Supervised 2 B.S. students during the course “Evolutionary Genetic Research “

Feb-Mar 2011                 Supervised 2 B.S. students during the course “Evolutionary Genetic Research”

Article reviewing experience

I have reviewed papers for Heredity (3), Journal of Evolutionary Biology (1), Sexual Development (1), PLoS ONE (3)Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (2)The Science of Nature (2), Axios (1), Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata (1), General and Comparative Endocrinology (1), International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2), Frontier in Zoology (1)

Grant reviewing experience

I have reviewed grant for Czech Science Foundation (GAČR).


In prep:

  1. P Veltsos, N Rodrigues, T Studer, W-J Ma, R Sermier, N Perrin. No sexual antagonistic effects in reproductive success in the common frog with various Y-chromosome differentiations. In prep.

In review:

  1. W-J Ma, L Santos del Blanco, JR Pannell. A new biological species in the Mercurialis annua polyploid complex: functional divergence in inflorescence morphology, hybrid sterility and patterns of introgression. In review.

Peer-reviewed publications:

  1. W-J Ma, P Veltsos, R Sermier, D Parker, N Perrin. Evolutionary and developmental dynamics of sex-biased gene expressions in the common frogs with proto-Y chromosomes. Genome Biology 19: 156.   PDF   [DOI]
  2. DL Jeffries, G Lavanchy, R Sermier, MJ. Sredl, I Miura, A Borzée, LN Barrow, D Canestrelli, P-A Crochet, C Dufresnes, J Fu, W-J Ma, C Macías Garcia, K Ghali, AG Nicieza, RP O’Donnell, N Rodrigues, A Romano, Í Martínez-Solano, I Stepanyan, S Zumbach, A Bresfold, N Perrin. An unprecedented rate of sex-chromosome turnover and non-random transitions in true frogs. Nature Communications 9: 4088.   PDF   [DOI]
  3. W-J Ma*, P Veltsos*, M Toups*, R Sermier, DL Jeffries, N Perrin. (2018). Tissue specificity and dynamics of sex-biased gene expression in a common frog population with differentiated sex chromosomes. Genes 9: 294. (* co-first authors).    PDF  [PubMed]  [DOI]
  4. N Rodrigues, T Studer, C Dufresnes, W-J Ma, P Veltsos, N Perrin. (2017). Dmrt1 polymorphism and sex chromosome differentiation in Rana temporaria. Molecular Ecology 26: 4897-4905.    PDF  [PubMed]  [DOI]
  5. W-J Ma, T Schwander. (2017). Mechanisms and consequences in instances of endosymbiont-induced parthenogenesis. Journal of Evolutionary Biology30: 868-888.    PDF  [PubMed]  [DOI]
  6. W-J Ma, N Rodrigues, R Sermier,A Brelsford, N Perrin. (2016). Dmrt1polymorphism covaries with sex-determination patterns in Rana temporaria. Ecology and Evolution30: 5107-5117.    PDF  [PubMed]  [DOI]
  7. W-J Ma, JR Pannell. (2016). Separate sexes are a double turnoff in melons. Current Biology 26: R171-174.    PDF   [PubMed]  [DOI]
  8. W-J Ma, BA Pannebakker, L van de Zande, T Schwander, B Wertheim, LW Beukeboom. (2015). Diploid males support a two-step mechanism for endosymbiont-induced thelytoky in a parasitoid wasp. BMC Evolutionary Biology 15: 84.    PDF  [PubMed]  [DOI]
  9. W-J Ma, BA Pannebakker, LW Beukeboom, T Schwander, L van de Zande. (2014).Genetics of decayed sexual traits in a parasitoid wasp with endosymbiont-induced parthenogenesis. Heredity 113: 424-431.    PDF  [PubMed]  [DOI]
  10. W-J Ma, B Kuijper, JG de Boer, L van de Zande, LW Beukeboom, B Wertheim, BA Pannebakker. (2013). Absence of complementary sex determination in the parasitoid wasp genus Asobara (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). PLoS ONE 8: e60458.     PDF  [PubMed]  [DOI]
  11. W-J Ma, F Vavre, LW Beukeboom. (2013). Manipulation of arthropod sex determination by endosymbionts: diversity and molecular mechanisms. Sexual Development 8: 59-73. DOI:10.1159/000357024.   PDF [PubMed]  [DOI]
  12. W-J Ma, D-R Yang, Y-Q Peng. (2009). Disturbance effects on community structure of fig wasp in Ficus tinctoriain Xishuangbanna, China: implication for the fig/fig wasp mutualism. Insect Science 16: 417-424.    PDF  [WoS]  [DOI]
  13. W-J Ma, F-P Zhang, Y-Q Peng, D-R Yang (2009). Comparison of style length and reproduction success in Ficus of different breeding systems. Chinese Journal of Plant Ecology 33: 911-918.    PDF  [DOI]
  14. W-J Ma, Y-Q Peng, D-R Yang, J-M Guan. (2009). Coevolution of reproductive characteristics in three dioecious fig species and their pollinator wasps. Symbiosis 49: 87-94.    PDF  [DOI]
  15. W-J Ma, Y-Q Peng, D-R Yang. (2009). Variation of reproduction success in Ficus tinctoria and the implication in fig evolution. Proceedings of the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Yunnan Insect Society: 139-145.    [DOI]
  16. W-J Ma. (2014). Evolutionary Genetics of Wolbachia-induced Parthenogenesis in the Parasitoid Asobara Japonica: Sex Determination and Sexual Decay. PhD thesis.University of Groningen. The Netherlands.    PDF_Part1  PDF_Part2  [DOI]
  17. E Geuverink, M van Leussen, W-J Ma, LW Beukeboom, L van de Zande. (2017). Identification, sex-specific splicing and maternal provision of transformerand transformer-2 in arrhenotokous and Wolbachia-infected thelytokous Asobara japonica.Chapter 6. Parental and Endosymbiont Effects on Sex Determination in Haplodiploid Wasps-Who is in Control? PhD thesis (E. Geuverink). University of Groningen, The Netherlands.    PDF  [DOI]