You give me fever

By Elie Dolgin 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

Elie Dolgin
Oct 1, 2009

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 (www.vectorbase.org) 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

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?