Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

“Bar-coding” midges could help prevent spread of bluetongue in the UK

04.09.2008
Ecologists have developed a new technique for genetically “bar-coding” biting midges that could help prevent the spread of bluetongue – a serious animal disease – in the UK. Speaking at the British Ecological Society’s Annual Meeting at Imperial College, London, Jane DeGabriel of the University of Aberdeen will explain how the technique will plug a huge gap in our understanding of how midges might spread bluetongue in the UK.

Bluetongue is a serious disease affecting ruminants such as sheep and cattle. It was first detected in the UK in 2007 but has not yet affected Scotland. It can be spread by species of Culicoides biting midge present in the UK. European midges have been exposed to bluetongue and can spread the disease. Coupled with climate change, this means the disease poses a major threat to UK agriculture.

The species of midges present in the UK potentially differ in their ability to spread bluetongue, so predicting how the disease might spread depends on mapping the distribution of these species. DeGabriel’s new “bar-coding” system makes this possible for the first time.

According to DeGabriel: “The four species within the group Culicoides obsoletus that we are interested in cannot be distinguished visually. So we are using a genetic bar-coding approach to identify the midges to species level using molecular methods. We have developed a high-throughput genetic screening method to identify large sample sizes of midges to species level, both efficiently and cost-effectively.”

During 2007 and 2008, DeGabriel and her colleagues collected one million midges from light traps set up on 37 farms throughout Scotland, from the English border in the south to as far north as Thurso. Using the bar-coding technique they were then able to produce a detailed “midge map” of Scotland. This showed midge numbers and species varied both geographically and seasonally, reflecting differences in climate and habitat.

“This is the first large-scale study of the distribution and abundance of Scottish midge species. We found that all four species of midges were present in all areas of Scotland, but the relative numbers of each species differed between the trapping sites. We also found the mixture of species differed at individual sites at different times of the year. These differences between and within sites appear to be due to differences in climatic conditions and habitat. Our findings provide vital information for assessing the risk of bluetongue being transmitted in Scotland and the effects of climate change on the spread of this and other animal diseases,” DeGabriel explains.

“Given the introduction of bluetongue into England and the persistence of favourable climatic conditions such as the recent milder winters, this research is extremely urgent and important. Our results will help scientists and policy makers develop risk mitigation and management strategies for bluetongue and other animal diseases,” DeGabriel says.

Jane DeGabriel will present her full findings at 09:10 on Thursday 4 September 2008 to the British Ecological Society’s Annual Meeting at Imperial College, London.

Her research is being carried out under a Scottish Government grant to the University of Aberdeen, Advanced Pest Solutions Ltd and the Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright.

Becky Allen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.britishecologicalsociety.org

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Light green plants save nitrogen without sacrificing photosynthetic efficiency
21.11.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Filling intercropping info gap
16.11.2017 | American Society of Agronomy

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>