Researchers differentiate yellow fever, malaria mosquitoes by gene mapping

Washington: The Virginia Tech entomologists have created a chromosome map that can help distinguish between yellow fever and malaria mosquitoes in order to prevent the disease.

With the map, researchers can compare the chromosome organization and evolution between mosquito Aedes agypti, the major carrier of dengue fever and yellow fever and the major carrier of malaria, the Anopheles gambiae mosquito.

Maria Sharakhova, a research scientist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences said that 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.

The researchers said 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 also supports the observation that sex determination is also handled differently in the two mosquito species which could be useful in devising prevention measures.

Igor Sharakhov, an associate professor of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences said that 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.

The study is published in BMC Biology. 


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