Virginia Tech entomologists have developed a chromosome map for about half of the genome of the mosquito Aedes agypti, the major carrier of dengue fever and yellow fever.
With the map, researchers can compare the chromosome organization and evolution between this mosquito and the major carrier of malaria, the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, to find ways to prevent diseases.
The red and blue signals indicate positions of interest for researchers on the chromosomes of the mosquito Aedes aegypti, the principal carrier of dengue and yellow fevers. Courtesy of Maria Sharakhova.
“Despite looking somewhat similar, these mosquitoes diverged from each other about 150 million years ago. So, they are genetically further apart than humans and elephants,” said Maria Sharakhova, a research scientist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, a Fralin Life Science Institute affiliate, and the principal investigator of the study published in BMC Biology and highlighted on Biome.
The researchers say that the genome of the malaria mosquito is clearly separated into gene-rich and gene-poor compartments, while the genome of the yellow fever mosquito has no such differentiation. The study supports the observation that sex determination is also handled differently in the two mosquito species which could be useful in devising prevention measures.
In the malaria mosquito, X and Y chromosomes determine sex, but in the yellow fever mosquito, sex in males is determined just by a small location on chromosome 1.
Despite these differences, sex chromosome X in the malaria mosquito and chromosome 1 in the yellow fever mosquito evolve much faster than other chromosomes, meaning that the sex-determining segment of chromosome 1 may influence the rate of the change.
The discovery is significant because only female mosquitoes bite and transmit infectious diseases. Understanding the mechanisms of the sex chromosomes may help to manipulate the sex ratio in mosquitoes and reduce disease transmission.
“The development of novel approaches to disease control will be definitely more successful if we better understand the differences and similarities in the genomes ofthe yellow fever and malaria vectors,” Sharakhova said.
Although the genome of the yellow fever mosquito was published in 2007, the lack of a detailed physical genome map prevented researchers from analyzing the chromosome genetic composition and evolution. The large size of the yellow fever mosquito’s genome — about one third of the human genome size and five times larger than the malaria mosquito’s genome — complicated genomic mapping efforts.
“The physical genome map developed in this study will guide efforts to significantly improve the genome assembly for the yellow fever mosquito and will facilitate more advanced studies of the genome organization and chromosome evolution in mosquitoes,” said Igor Sharakhov, an associate professor of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, a Fralin Life Science Institute affiliate, and co-author on the paper.
Other study authors include Vladimir A. Timoshevskiy, a postdoctoral research associate in entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Nicholas Kinney of Leesburg, Virginia, a graduate student in the genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology program at Virginia Tech; Zhijian Tu, a professor of biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Chunhong Mao, a senior project associate at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute; David W. Severson, a professor of biological sciences at Eck Institute for Global Health of the University of Notre Dame, and Becky S. deBryun, a technician in the Severson laboratory.
A premiere Research Institute of Virginia Tech, the Fralin Life Science Institute enables and enhances collaborative efforts in research, education, and outreach within the Virginia Tech life science community through strategic investments that are often allied with colleges, departments, and other institutes.
Lindsay Taylor Key | Eurek Alert!
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy