Tsetse flies, which transmit the trypanosome that causes sleeping sickness in humans and its equivalent in animals, primarily feed on the blood of various animals, such as ruminants, reptiles and humans. However, flies that fed on a given species first time around tend to return to the same species over the next couple of days, rather than changing hosts.
To achieve this result, the researchers worked in a laboratory in Burkina Faso with swarms of 125 flies, each taken from a population of some 100 000 flies reared at CIRDES. Those swarms were then offered a menu with a single dish: one ruminant or reptile species. A few days after that single dish, they were given a choice of two species. Once they had fed, they were dissected to see where the blood they had eaten came from.
Over the next two days, the flies chose the blood of the same species
The results were statistically processed, and showed that the flies that had fed on a ruminant first preferred to feed on a ruminant second time around, rather than on a reptile. Likewise, flies that had fed on a reptile first preferred a reptile second time around. However, while this was the case if the interval between meals was less than two days, it was not so for longer intervals. The experiment was repeated for a three-day interval, and the flies, who were short of food by then, fed indiscriminately on ruminant or reptile blood irrespective of their original host: one's always less difficult when one's hungry!
These results could help us to understand, and even control, trypanosomes and how they are transmitted between species. The stakes are high: of the 42 poorest countries in the world, 32 are in Africa and are home to tsetse flies. Trypanosomiases are found throughout two thirds of the continent of Africa, and cause the deaths of three million head of livestock and the loss of 500 000 tonnes of meat and 1 million tonnes of milk each year. More than 60 million people are at risk of catching the parasite, which kills 100 patients a day.
Helen Burford | alfa
Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State
How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences