"Malaria afflicts humans both in mortality and morbidity," said Dr. Peter Atkinson, associate professor of entomology at the University of California, Riverside, and a co-author of the paper. "The economic cost to affected nations is immense. No vaccine has been developed for malaria and, due to a number of factors, the incidence of the disease is on the rise. Understanding the genetic makeup of the mosquito that transmits malaria will help with the design of new strategies to fight this disease."
Malaria, the most important parasitic disease in the world, is thought to be responsible for 500 million cases of illness and up to 2.7 million deaths annually, more than 90% of which occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria is again on the rise in Africa, the continent hardest hit by the disease. Blood meals of Anopheles gambiae come almost exclusively from humans, its larvae develop in temporary bodies of water produced by human activities (e.g., agricultural irrigation or flooded human or domestic animal footprints), and adults rest primarily in human dwellings.
Besides Dr. Atkinson, two other scientists from UC Riverside, Dr. Peter Arensburger, a postdoctoral researcher, and Ms. Lisa Friedli, a graduate student in Dr. Atkinson's laboratory, are co-authors of the Science paper. The UC Riverside researchers analyzed the genome looking for one class of transposable elements, using, in part, facilities available within the UCR Genomics Institute.
The UCR Genomics Institute, established in 2000, provides researchers and students access to state-of-the-art tools for advanced studies in genomics, gene expression, proteomics, microscopy and bioinformatics. Re
Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
University of California - Riverside