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Genome of yellow fever/dengue fever mosquito sequenced

Blacksburg, Va. -- Developing new strategies to prevent and control yellow fever and dengue fever has become more possible with the completion of the first draft of the genome sequence of Aedes aegypti mosquito by scientists led by Vishvanath Nene at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and David Severson at the University of Notre Dame. The genome is the complete set of genetic material including genes and other segments of DNA in an organism.

The research appears in the May 18, 2007 Science Express, in the article, "Genome Sequence of Aedes aegypti, A Major Arbovirus Vector." Researchers at 24 universities and other institutions worldwide contributed to the effort.

Among the co-authors are members of the Vector-Borne Infectious Disease Research Group at Virginia Tech (www.vectorborne.ibphs.vt.edu), Zhijian (Jake) Tu, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry (www.biochem.vt.edu); James K Biedler, biochemistry postdoctoral associate; Song Li, research specialist senior in biochemistry; and Monique Royer Coy, biochemistry graduate student; and Chunhong Mao, senior project associate with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech.

Tu coordinated efforts with TIGR and five research laboratories in the United States, Spain, and France to annotate transposable elements (TEs) in the Ae. aegypti genome. TEs are segments of nucleic acids, or genetic material, that move around the genome and have a significant impact on its structure and size.

Also, Jinsong Zhu, assistant professor of biochemistry at Virginia Tech, who was a senior researcher at the University of California, Riverside, is involved in this process that has so far validated about 80 percent of the 15,419 predicted protein coding genes in Ae. aegypti. He explains, "An important part of this project is gene annotation which predicts numbers and locat
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Contact: Susan Trulove
STrulove@vt.edu
540-231-5646
Virginia Tech
17-May-2007


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