You give me fever

James Gathany / CDC

The paper:

V. Nene et al., “Genome sequence of Aedes aegypti, a major arbovirus vector,” Science, 316:1718–23, 2007. (Cited in 100 papers)

The finding:

Five years after scientists sequenced the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae, researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute and the University of Notre Dame released the genetic blueprint of a second mosquito, Aedes aegypti, the species that spreads yellow and dengue fevers. With two mosquito genomes, researchers may develop genomics-based explanations of mosquito behavior and the pathogens they transmit, says Peter Atkinson of the University of California, Riverside.

The expansion:

Over the 150 million years since the mosquito lineages split, the Ae. aegypti genome ballooned to five times the size of A. gambiae’s. This enlargement was driven by a surge of transposable elements, which make up around half of Ae. aegypti’s 1.4 billion...

The contrast:

Imperial College London’s George Christophides showed that immune signaling pathways in the two mosquito genomes are fairly similar, but highly diverged from the fruit fly’s (Science, 316:1738–43, 2007). “These immunity differences might be explained by the insects’ different diets and pathogen exposures,” Christophides says.

The accomplices:

Researchers have recently sequenced three more human disease vectors—another mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus; a body louse, Pediculus humanus; and a tick species, Ixodes scapularis—and created a web portal called VectorBase ( to interrogate all five disease-carrier genomes.

Genome size (Mb) No. of genes Average gene length (bp)
Aedes aegypti 1376 15,419 14,587
Anopheles gambiae 273 13,111 5,124
Drosophila melanogaster 118 13,718 3,460

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