Researchers have determined the genetic sequencing of 16 mosquitoes belonging to the Anopheles genus to understand why only certain mosquitoes transmit malaria to humans.
Cedric Chauve from Simon Fraser University in Canada and his student Ashok Rajaraman used computational methods to reconstruct ancestral mosquito genomes and analyse their chromosomal evolution over the past hundred million years.
Their hope is to understand how chromosomes evolved and to unravel potential adaptation mechanisms that may be related to malaria transmission. They also hope to determine the genetic differences between these species and others that are merely bothersome and not toxic.
While only mosquitoes belonging to the Anopheles genus species transmit human malaria, not all species within the genus or even all members of each vector species, are efficient malaria carriers.
“This suggests an underlying genetic/genomic plasticity that results in a variation of key traits determining transmission capacity within the genus,” Chauve said.
While advances in malaria control have met with successes, the sequencing of these 16 new genomes will contribute to further understanding the genomic adaptability of mosquitoes in transmitting malaria, the researchers noted.
Their findings appeared in Science Express, a publication of selected papers of the journal Science.
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