Study of the mosquito genome is driven by the need for improved strategies to control the transmission of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases. In the February 13 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Tu describes the use of a novel computer program, FINDMITE, to search systematically for DNA transposable elements in the genome of the African malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:1699-1704). The program identified eight novel families of miniature inverted repeat transposable elements (MITEs) that range from 40-1,340 copies per genome (constituting up to 0.8% of the genome). The A. gambiae MITEs are found in AT-rich regions and appear to be clustered together. The identification of transposable elements may help attempts to create genetically modified mosquitoes to control malaria.

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