Publishing in the Science

Congratulations to the Glossina Genome Initiative for the paper;  “Genome Sequence of the Tsetse Fly (Glossina morsitans): Vector of African Trypanosomiasis” that just published in the Science. Special thanks to Geoffrey M. Attardo and Serap Aksoy for leading the team to this great achievement.

This work is of great significance to Africa. Tsetse flies, are the only vectors of trypanosomes that cause sleeping sickness in human and nagana in livestock. It mainly affects the sub-Saharan Africa. A better understanding of this vector will provide an avenue to develop tools to combat the disease. This in turn will reduce the suffering and economic loss caused by the disease.

I was privileged to have been part of the Kenyan team headed by Dan Masiga (icipe) and Paul Mireji (Egerton). The members were; George Obiero(icipe), Stephen Ger (JKUAT), Rosaline Macharia (UoN), Kevin Kamanyi (Egerton), Irene Omedo (Kilifi), Mark Wamalwa (SANBI) and Caleb Kipkurui (icipe) who manually annotated various proteins of the Glossina morsitans morsitans.  Here is the abstract to the paper:

Abstract: Tsetse flies are the sole vectors of human African trypanosomiasis throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Both sexes of adult tsetse feed exclusively on blood and contribute to disease transmission. Notable differences between tsetse and other disease vectors include obligate microbial symbioses, viviparous reproduction, and lactation. Here, we describe the sequence and annotation of the 366-megabase Glossina morsitans morsitans genome. Analysis of the genome and the 12,308 predicted protein encoding genes led to multiple discoveries, including chromosomal integrations of bacterial (Wolbachia) genome sequences, a family of lactation-specific proteins, reduced complement of host pathogen recognition proteins, and reduced olfaction/chemosensory associated genes. These genome data provide a foundation for research into trypanosomiasis prevention and yield important insights with broad implications for multiple aspects of tsetse biology. (International Glossina Genome Initiative. (2014) Genome Sequence of the Tsetse Fly (Glossina morsitans): Vector of African Trypanosomiasis. ScienceDOI: 10.1126/science.1249656)

Congratulations again to the Kenyan team for publishing in the Science. That is a great achievement. Special mentions to my friend George Obiero; thanks for your mentorship.

The blog post below by my mentor Dr. Masiga, clearly brings to light some of the key findings from the sequencing and annotation of the Glossina morsitans morsitans genome.

Wellcome Sanger Institute Blog

24th April 2014
By Daniel Masiga

Parasitic wasp Cotesia congregata on hornworm Manduca sexta. Credit: Beatriz Moisset Parasitic wasp Cotesia congregata on hornworm Manduca sexta. Credit: Beatriz Moisset A group of scientists from more than 10 countries, with support from institutions such as the Wellcome Trust and the World Health Organization have just completed mapping the genes that provide the genetic code for the tsetse fly (in our case the species Glossina morsitans morsitans), an insect that spreads the lethal disease trypanosomosis, the feared sleeping sickness, in humans and nagana in livestock. We hope that knowing a little more about the inner workings of the tsetse fly will help us find a way to control it.

One surprising finding is that the DNA of tsetse flies contains the sequence for a virus carried by wasps that attack Lepidoptera insects, a group that includes moths and butterflies, by laying virus-laden eggs in their larvae. The wasp’s eggs are laid in the…

View original post 384 more words


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