Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers map gene differences in yellow fever, malaria mosquitoes, to help prevent disease

18.06.2014

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

Communications Officer

540-231-6594

ltkey@vt.edu

Lindsay Taylor Key | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2014/06/061714-fralin-chromosomes.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A new potential biomarker for cancer imaging
05.02.2016 | Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)

nachricht NIH researchers identify striking genomic signature shared by 5 types of cancer
05.02.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Automated driving: Steering without limits

OmniSteer project to increase automobiles’ urban maneuverability begins with a € 3.4 million budget

Automobiles increase the mobility of their users. However, their maneuverability is pushed to the limit by cramped inner city conditions. Those who need to...

Im Focus: Microscopy: Nine at one blow

Advance in biomedical imaging: The University of Würzburg's Biocenter has enhanced fluorescence microscopy to label and visualise up to nine different cell structures simultaneously.

Fluorescence microscopy allows researchers to visualise biomolecules in cells. They label the molecules using fluorescent probes, excite them with light and...

Im Focus: NASA's ICESat-2 equipped with unique 3-D manufactured part

NASA's follow-on to the successful ICESat mission will employ a never-before-flown technique for determining the topography of ice sheets and the thickness of sea ice, but that won't be the only first for this mission.

Slated for launch in 2018, NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) also will carry a 3-D printed part made of polyetherketoneketone (PEKK),...

Im Focus: Sinking islands: Does the rise of sea level endanger the Takuu Atoll in the Pacific?

In the last decades, sea level has been rising continuously – about 3.3 mm per year. For reef islands such as the Maldives or the Marshall Islands a sinister picture is being painted evoking the demise of the island states and their cultures. Are the effects of sea-level rise already noticeable on reef islands? Scientists from the ZMT have now answered this question for the Takuu Atoll, a group of Pacific islands, located northeast of Papua New Guinea.

In the last decades, sea level has been rising continuously – about 3.3 mm per year. For reef islands such as the Maldives or the Marshall Islands a sinister...

Im Focus: Energy-saving minicomputers for the ‘Internet of Things’

The ‘Internet of Things’ is growing rapidly. Mobile phones, washing machines and the milk bottle in the fridge: the idea is that minicomputers connected to these will be able to process information, receive and send data. This requires electrical power. Transistors that are capable of switching information with a single electron use far less power than field effect transistors that are commonly used in computers. However, these innovative electronic switches do not yet work at room temperature. Scientists working on the new EU research project ‘Ions4Set’ intend to change this. The program will be launched on February 1. It is coordinated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR).

“Billions of tiny computers will in future communicate with each other via the Internet or locally. Yet power consumption currently remains a great obstacle”,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AKL’16: Experience Laser Technology Live in Europe´s Largest Laser Application Center!

02.02.2016 | Event News

From intelligent knee braces to anti-theft backpacks

26.01.2016 | Event News

DATE 2016 Highlighting Automotive and Secure Systems

26.01.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new potential biomarker for cancer imaging

05.02.2016 | Life Sciences

Graphene is strong, but is it tough?

05.02.2016 | Materials Sciences

Tiniest Particles Shrink Before Exploding When Hit With SLAC's X-ray Laser

05.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>