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Researchers sequence genome of mosquito that spreads West Nile virus
Date:10/1/2010

mology.ucr.edu/">Department of Entomology, who led the substantial bioinformatics component of the multiyear research effort. "Moreover, now that we have sequenced the Culex genome, we can begin to identify which mosquito genes get turned on or turned off in response to infection knowledge that is critical to developing strategies for preventing the transmission of West Nile virus and other disease vectors."

Study results appear in the Oct. 1 issue of Science.

The researchers report that Culex quinquefasciatus, also known as the southern house mosquito, has a genome size of 579 million nucleotides, which is intermediate between the genome sizes of Anopheles gambiae (278 million nucleotides) and Aedes aegypti (about 1380 million nucleotides). However, Culex quinquefasciatus has a higher number of genes (18,883 genes) than Anopheles gambiae (12,457 genes) or Aedes aegypti (15,419 genes).

"We do not know why this is the case," said Arensburger. "Culex quinquefasciatus is very widely distributed throughout the globe; the same species is found in California and South Africa. It is possible that the large number of genes in this mosquito helped it survive in a wide variety of habitats."

The researchers also report that the genome for Culex quinquefasciatus bears more similarity to the Aedes aegypti genome than the Anopheles gambiae genome.

Thirty-seven institutions collaborated with UC Riverside on the research project that began in 2004. Besides Arensburger, the UCR team includes Peter Atkinson, the director of the Center for Disease Vector Research and a professor of entomology, and Alexander Raikhel, a distinguished professor of entomology.

"We coordinated with researchers around the world to accomplish the sequ
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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California -- Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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