New mosquito repellants, insecticides, and mosquito vaccines are some of the malaria-fighting tools that it may be possible to build using information from the newly-sequenced mosquito genome. The sequence of Anopheles gambiae, the primary mosquito species that transmits the malaria parasite to humans, appears in the journal Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Malaria is thought to afflict over 500 million people and cause nearly three million deaths each year, more than 90 percent of which occur in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Science study, whose authors are from the United States, France, Israel, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, and Greece. A. gambiae is the most common mosquito species in Africa, and passes the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, on to humans when it feeds on their blood.
"Malaria in Africa is on the rise, as malaria parasites have developed resistance to anti-malarial drugs and mosquitoes have developed resistance to insecticides. Knowing the mosquito genome may help researchers identify genes involved in the insect's ability to host the parasite, or to locate a human to infect," said Don Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief of Science.
"New malaria control techniques are desperately needed in Africa, and the Anophelesgenome has an important part to play in fighting this dise
Contact: Lisa Onaga
American Association for the Advancement of Science