Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetic markers offer new clues about how malaria mosquitoes evade eradication

26.10.2010
The development and first use of a high-density SNP array for the malaria vector mosquito have established 400,000 genetic markers capable of revealing new insights into how the insect adapts to outsmart insecticides and other preventive measures, according to findings published in the current edition of the journal Science.

The SNP array’s snapshot of the Anopheles gambiae genome can be used by scientists worldwide to advance public health efforts to contain and eliminate the deadly disease, according to Boston College biologist and senior author Marc A.T. Muskavitch.

The SNP array, a technology used to examine hundreds of thousands of features within DNA, detects single nucleotide polymorphisms and establishes genetic markers that can be used to understand the entire genome, particularly with respect to disease susceptibility and the likely success of insecticides and other mosquito-targeted interventions.

“We have developed a set of 400,000 markers with which we can study the genetics of the malaria vector mosquito Anopheles gambiae,” said Muskavitch, the DeLuca Professor of Biology at Boston College, who co-authored the paper with an international team of researchers. “Each marker is like a genetic signpost along the genome. These markers have revealed that when mosquito populations begin to separate from each other, it is a very complicated process that can involve hundreds of genes. The genes we have identified are genes that we can now investigate, to better understand their roles in the complexity of mosquito populations.”

The malaria mosquito is a member of a complex of seven species of mosquitoes, and within that complex are multiple populations that can display different traits and behaviors. Over many decades, modern public health efforts have sought to stop these mosquitoes, which spread the malaria parasite by taking blood meals from humans. Insecticides have been 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.

Watch an interview with Prof. Muskavitch.

“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.

“By obtaining insights into the genetic changes that underlie the adaptations of mosquitoes to evade our interventions, we have a better chance of making sure that mosquitoes can be controlled,” Muskavitch said. “The development of this array depended critically on working with African colleagues who understand the transmission of malaria and work to control it in their home countries. Now that we have established this approach for Anopheles gambiae, we are beginning to work with even more scientists in Africa who are working to understand and control the mosquitoes that transmit this deadly disease.”

Ed Hayward | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

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

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>