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UCR entomologists to develop special bacteria to combat spread of mosquito-borne diseases
Date:6/14/2010

>"Our work has implications for controlling many vector-borne diseases worldwide filariasis in India, malaria in Africa, India, and Central and South America, and various viral diseases transmitted by mosquitoes around the world," Federici said. "Our recombinants are very good at killing Culex mosquitoes that occur in Brazil, India, Thailand, China and Mexico. In preliminary field tests, we found that our recombinants kill 95-100 percent of the mosquitoes."

According to Federici, another significant advantage of using recombinant bacteria is that they come with built-in resistance management properties.

"Mosquitoes can become resistant to bacterial control agents," he explained. "Work in my lab has shown that it is possible to delay the evolution of mosquito resistance because this resistance takes much longer to evolve when recombinants are involved.

"Our preliminary efficacy data shows that our method works. We have a few more hurdles to jump over. But if all goes according to plan, we could have a product commercially available in 3-5 years. Certainly, our industry partners are eager to move forward."

The grant will support graduate students, specialists and postdoctoral researchers. Federici already is joined in the research by UCR's Margaret Wirth, a staff research associate in the Department of Entomology, and Mercedes Diaz-Mendoza, a postdoctoral researcher working in Federici's lab; and Dennis Bideshi and Hyun-Woo Park of California Baptist University, Riverside. Both Bideshi and Park also hold appointments as specialists in UCR's Department of Entomology.

In particular, Wirth will focus on the evolution of insecticide resistance to microbial toxins, the genetic basis of this resistance and evaluating the bacterial insecticides.

"We will also determine whether exposure to sublethal concentrations of microbial insecticides affects the adult longevity of female vector mosquitoes," said Wirth,
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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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