FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Researchers evaluate genetic war between mosquitoes and humans

Genetic war between mosquitoes and humans | Courtesy of wikipedia.org
Researchers have stated that approximately 5 to 20 percent of a mosquito population’s genome is adaptable to evolutionary pressures at all times, which makes it more likely to adapt to local humans and environments.

The tested mosquitoes, found in Russia and the U.S., show that individual populations are more likely to adapt in order to resist the measures taken against mosquitoes in their area. Each time people wear bug spray throughout the summer months, the mosquitoes may be adapting to their new environments rather than decreasing in number.

"Mosquitoes adapt to heat, lifestyle, pesticides and so on -- and we see traces of that in their genome," Sergey Nuzhdin, University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, arts and sciences professor as well as corresponding author of the study, said.

The study sequenced the mosquito genomes from a variety of populations in both suburban and urban areas. The selection included Culex torrentium and Culex pipiens species, which are related but different. Further understanding mosquito genomes may be crucial information to choosing the most effective pesticides to eliminate mosquitoes. 

"In addition to the insights into the contemporary evolution of mosquitoes, the methods we used in this study can be applied to compare genes under natural selection across populations of any species, including humans," Hosseinali Asgharian, lead author of the study, said.

Further details are available in Proceedings of the Royal Society B issue from June 17.

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