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

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."


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

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