Navigation Links
Genetic code of the deadly tsetse fly unraveled
Date:4/24/2014

A decade-long effort by members of the International Glossina Genome Initiative (IGGI) has produced the first complete genome sequence of the tsetse fly, Glossina morsitans. The blood-sucking insect is the sole transmitter of sleeping sickness, a potentially deadly disease endemic in sub-Saharan Africa. The vast store of genetic data will help researchers develop new ways to prevent the disease and provide insights into the tsetse fly's unique biology.

The tsetse fly is quite unique in the insect world: it feeds exclusively on the blood of humans and animals, gives birth to live young and provides nutrition to its young by lactation.

But in the invertebrate world, the tsetse fly is a killer: its bite can transfer the parasite that causes trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness. If left untreated, the disease is fatal. No vaccine has yet been developed and current drug treatments have unwanted side effects.

An estimated 70 million people throughout sub-Saharan Africa are at risk for trypanosomiasis. And because the disease also affects animals, rearing livestock in endemic areas is difficult to impossible, resulting in several billions of dollars in lost agricultural output each year. Snuffing out the tsetse fly, the disease's one and only vector, has long been a public health priority.

The IGGI researchers' goal was to identify the genes in the tsetse fly's genome that code for proteins and then to link those genes to their corresponding biological function, a process called annotation. Proteins are the 'parts list' of an organism and are involved in every aspect of its structure and function.

"In a first phase of the project, we used computers to automatically annotate the genetic sequence of the tsetse fly and compare it with the sequences of similar species with known genomes, such as the fruit fly. The computers flagged segments of genetic material in the tsetse fly's genome known to code for proteins in other species and used this data to predict the tsetse fly's gene structure and function," explains Geoffrey Attardo (Yale University), a lead author of the study. Teams of IGGI scientists then manually examined the automated annotations.

Doctoral researcher Jelle Caers and Professor Liliane Schoofs (KU Leuven) worked for two years in the IGGI group studying the tsetse fly's neuropeptide signalling genes. "We annotated 39 neuropeptide genes and 43 receptor genes. Neuropeptides regulate most if not all physiological processes including feeding, reproduction, metabolism, water balance and behaviour. In that sense, unravelling the tsetse fly's neuropeptide systems undoubtedly contributes to a better understanding of its overall biology."

And neuropeptides may just hold the key to controlling tsetse populations and eventually eradicating trypanosomiasis. "Neuropeptides are promising targets for the development of new environmentally-safe insecticides because they regulate all of the tsetse fly's crucial processes," says Jelle Caers. "Interfering with neuropeptides' proper functioning may allow us to decrease the fly's fitness and thereby shrink populations. There is still more work to be done before trypanosomiasis is eradicated in humans and animals, but decoding the tsetse genome is a big step in the right direction."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jelle Caers
jelle.caers@bio.kuleuven.be
32-495-840-513
KU Leuven
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Nearby chimpanzee populations show much greater genetic diversity than distant human populations
2. Will a genetic mutation cause trouble? Ask Spliceman
3. UC Santa Barbara researchers discover genetic link between visual pathways of hydras and humans
4. Perception and preference may have genetic link to obesity
5. A foot in the door to genetic information
6. Genetic survey of endangered Antarctic blue whales shows surprising diversity
7. Epigenetic signatures direct the repair potential of reprogrammed cells
8. Epigenetics and epidemiology -- hip, hype and science
9. Genetic variation in East Asians found to explain resistance to cancer drugs
10. First complete full genetic map of promising energy crop
11. Genetic research develops tools for studying diseases, improving regenerative treatment
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Genetic code of the deadly tsetse fly unraveled
(Date:2/2/2016)... , Feb. 2, 2016 Technology Enhancements Accelerate ... an analysis of the digital and computed radiography markets ... , and Indonesia (TIM). ... and market size, as well as regional market drivers ... and discusses market penetration and market attractiveness, both for ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2, 2016  Based on its recent analysis ... recognizes US-based Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) with ... for New Product Innovation. IRIS, a prominent cloud-based ... America , is poised to set the ... retinopathy market. The IRIS technology presents superior price-performance ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... 2016  Today, the first day of American Heart ... develop a first of its kind workplace health solution ... In the first application of Watson ... ), and Welltok will create a new offering that ... analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health optimization platform. The effort ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... JUNCTION, N.J. , Feb. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... care immunotherapy leader commercializing its flagship CytoSorb® blood ... cardiac surgery patients around the world, announced that ... will present at the Source Capital Group,s 2016 ... and update on the company.  ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... , Feb. 4, 2016 Sinovac Biotech ... a leading provider of biopharmaceutical products in ... of its board of directors received on February 4, ... 2016, from a consortium comprised of PKU V-Ming ( ... Biomedicine Co., Ltd., CICC Qianhai Development ( Shenzhen ...
(Date:2/3/2016)...  Discovery Laboratories, Inc. (NASDAQ: DSCO ), ... surfactant therapies for respiratory diseases, today announced that ... award as a component of employment compensation for ... and Chief Executive Officer.  The award was approved ... 2016 and granted as an inducement material to ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... February 03, 2016 , ... Aerocom, a world-leading ... to the North American healthcare market. , Aerocom Healthcare, LLC will be based ... company will provide new pneumatic tube systems or expand existing systems within the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: