Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sand fly barcoding in Panama reveals Leishmania strain and its potential control

07.04.2010
In the first survey of sand flies in Panama to use genetic barcoding, scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Gorgas Memorial Laboratories identified 20 sand fly species from Barro Colorado Island.

Two species carried Leishmania naiffi, a parasite that causes cutaneous leishmaniasis: persistent, itchy skin lesions. Three species carried Wolbachia, a bacterial parasite of insects that could contribute to a strategy to control the flies and limit disease transmission.

"We used DNA barcoding—sequencing a particular gene of the blood-feeding flies we collected—to identify the 20 fly species; two species could not be distinguished visually," said Don Windsor, a Smithsonian scientist, who collaborated with STRI interns Jorge Azpurua, Dianne de la Cruz and Anayansi Valderama. "By characterizing another gene fragment from the nucleus of Leishmania, we discovered which fly species carried this disease-causing trypanosome."

Leishmaniasis is not new in central Panama—it poses a long-standing health risk to residents and visitors in the region. L. naiffi, the species carried by the flies in this survey, was previously known only to be in the Caribbean and the Amazon. "Other species of Leishmania and the blood-feeding flies that transmit them are endemic in central Panama," said Windsor. "Either L. naiffi was here undetected, or it could be a recent introduction carried by animals or people coming into Panama. Another explanation is that it is gradually moving northward from South America into Central America."

Researchers hope that the presence of Wolbachia in the same species of flies that carry Leishmania may be useful in disease control. Wolbachia bacteria infect the flies and are passed readily from generation to generation. Wolbachia affects the flies' ability to reproduce and has been proposed as a possible biological control of other insect pests.

Windsor emphasized that common preventative measures such as wearing insect repellent and long-sleeved shirts and pants when going out at dawn or dusk should be standard practice for residents, researchers and tourists who visit lowland tropical forests where Leishmania is endemic.

The Leishmania study was published in the open access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. Funding was provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation and Panama's Fundación Gabriel Lewis Galindo.

First author Azpurua, former STRI intern and short-term fellow, now a graduate student at the University of Rochester, has gone on to co-author "Hypersensitivity to Contact Inhibition Provides a Clue to Cancer Resistance of Naked Mole-rat," which was selected from more than 3,700 research articles published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to win the 2009 Cozzarelli Prize. The journal will present the award for papers that "reflect scientific excellence and originality" during the National Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting April 25 in National Harbor, Md.

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, headquartered in Panama City, Panama, is a unit of the Smithsonian Institution. The institute furthers the understanding of tropical nature and its importance to human welfare, trains students to conduct research in the tropics and promotes conservation by increasing public awareness of beauty and importance of tropical ecosystems. Web site: www.stri.org.

Ref: Jorge Azpurua, Dianne de la Cruz, Anayansi Valderama, Donald Windsor. 2010. Lutzomyia Sand Fly Diversity and Rates of Infection by Wolbachia and an Exotic Leishmania Species on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Beth King | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.si.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>