Sunday, 28 June 2015

Waging war on Australia's nastiest parasite: Scientists map blowfly genome


Date:June 26, 2015

Source:University of Melbourne

Summary:Researchers have decoded the Australian sheep blowfly genome, adding ammunition to the battle against one of the nation's most insidious pests. This blowfly is responsible for about $280 million in losses to Australia's sheep industry each year from flystrike.

All 14,544 genes of the blowfly (Lucilia cuprina) were identified by the international research team, led by the University of Melbourne, in partnership with the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center, and funded by the United States National Human Genome Research Institute and Australian Wool Innovation.

The research, published in Nature Communications, provides insights into the fly's molecular biology, how it interacts with the sheep's biology and, importantly, shows its potential to develop insecticide resistance.

Blowfly maggots live on the skin of sheep and invade open wounds, where they feed on tissue and cause severe skin disease, known as myiasis or flystrike. It is an aggressive and notoriously difficult pest to control.

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