Housefly genome may help unearth new cures for human diseases

Researchers said the genome of the common housefly (Musca domestica) may help uncover new cures for human diseases which in turn could improve our lives.

Last Updated: Oct 15, 2014, 02:54 AM IST
Housefly genome may help unearth new cures for human diseases

Washington: Researchers said the genome of the common housefly (Musca domestica) may help uncover new cures for human diseases which in turn could improve our lives.

The fly can also carry some 100 different illnesses, including typhoid, tuberculosis, and worms.

According to the research published in the journal Genome Biology, the housefly has a genome that could actually give scientists insight into pathogen immunity, helping humans deal with toxic and disease causing environments.

For the study, scientists sequenced the genomes of six female houseflies, creating a 691 Mb long sequence.

They then compared it with the 123 Mb genome of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to give an indication of the genes that were unique to housefly, and could be candidates for further study.

The comparison showed that the fly had many more immune genes than Drosophila. Its immune genes were also more diverse - presumably to offer it protection against the numerous pathogens it carries.

They also found unique code that helps the fly dissolve waste, such as faeces.

Researchers said information about these genes could help them to handle human waste and improve the environment.

Dr Jeff Scott from Cornell University, “Houseflies are a fascinating insect for scientists in many areas, such as developmental biology, sex determination, immunity, toxicology and physiology.”

“The completed genome will be a phenomenal tool for researchers in all of these fields and will facilitate rapid advancements,” said Scott who is the lead author of the paper.

(With Agency inputs)