Biotech Updates

Manipulation of Mosquito Gut Bacteria to Fight Mosquito-Borne Diseases

February 6, 2013

Using metagenomics, an approach that studies different genomes of organisms in an ecosystem, a research group led by New Mexico State University assistant professor Jiannong Xu attempts to reduce the population of disease transmitting mosquitoes. Malaria, Dengue Fever and West Nile virus kill million of people in poor developing countries for decades and an effective control is yet to be discovered.

The team previously found that there is a dynamic bacterial community that exists in the mosquito gut. Recently, the team developed a protocol to be able to perform mosquito metagenomic RNA sequencing. Hence, they were able to characterize taxonomic and functional composition of the gut microbiome. Moreover, the mosquito gut bacterial genome of Elizabethkigia which the group isolated was found to be identical with the one found in Europe, which means that the bacterium is very common with malaria transmitting mosquitos. Future collaborations and research is hoped to produce engineered bacterium that produce toxins in the mosquito gut.

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