Scientists Decode Genome Of Main Chagas Disease Vector

“An international team of scientists has decoded the genome of one of the main vectors of Chagas disease, paving the way for more targeted vector control and new ways to prevent disease transmission,” SciDev.Net reports. “Until now, scientists had only decoded the genome of the Chagas parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, but lacked genome information about the insect vectors,” the news service notes, adding, “[K]nowing the insect vector genomes should, in theory, improve control strategies through the development of traps, inhibitors of the Chagas parasite growth, and detection of insecticide resistance, among others.”

“If we discover why the kissing bug — and not other insects — transmits the parasite, we could study the mechanism to inhibit this transmission,” said Rolando Rivera-Pomar, director of the Regional Center for Genomic Studies at the National University of La Plata, who worked on the genome, SciDev.Net writes. “The work took almost a decade and involved 30 researchers from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, the United States and Uruguay, and was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health,” the news service notes (Hirschfeld, 6/4).