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Genetic markers offer new clues about how malaria mosquitoes evade eradication
Date:10/25/2010

en found to lose their effectiveness when the insects develop resistance to them. Muskavitch says the SNP array will yield powerful new scientific insights into these changes, which can support public health efforts in sub-Saharan Africa, where the disease is most prevalent, and elsewhere throughout the world.

"Our best tools for stopping vector mosquitoes that transmit malaria depend on mosquitoes that bite us at night when we are asleep and then rest inside our dwellings after they take our blood," Muskavitch said. "But we have already seen that mosquitoes are changing. They are beginning to bite during the day, or to rest outside. By using the SNP array, we can begin to understand the genes that lead to these differences in behavior."

He added, "Over the past 10 years, efforts on an international scale to improve the control of malaria and eliminate it have intensified. Health efforts on the ground involve the distribution of interventions. But because mosquitoes can outsmart insecticide-based interventions, we need to inform the use of those interventions with scientific insights into the genomics of vector mosquitoes."

The team - which included researchers from Boston College, the Broad Institute, Imperial College London, the University of Notre Dame, Harvard University and the Malaria Research and Training Center in Mali - designed the Anopheles gambiae (AG) SNP1 Array in collaboration with Santa Clara, California-based Affymetrix. The array features 400,000 SNPs from among the 3 million found in four sequenced strains of Anopheles gambiae, which provides an immensely higher resolution than the 42- and 1,536-marker sets previously available to malaria vector biologists.

Muskavitch said the development of the array is an essential advance for researchers working toward the goal of eradicating malaria, which has been set forth by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a leading funder of malaria research.

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Contact: Ed Hayward
ed.hayward@bc.edu
617-552-4826
Boston College
Source:Eurekalert

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