Genetic code of bloodsucking tsetse fly cracked after 10-year effort
Published on Apr 25, 2014 2:57 AM
VIENNA (AFP) - Scientists said Thursday they have cracked the genetic code of the tsetse fly, potentially helping to tackle one of sub-Saharan Africa's most devastating livestock diseases as well as human sleeping sickness.
"Decoding the tsetse fly's DNA is a major scientific breakthrough," said Kostas Bourtzis from a joint body of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the International Atomic Energy Agency which sequenced the genome in a 10-year international effort.
He said it "opens the way for more effective control of trypanosomiasis, which is good news for millions of herders and farmers in sub-Saharan Africa".
Found only in Africa, bloodsucking tsetse flies are vectors for the parasites that cause trypanosomiasis, or nagana, an often-lethal disease that affects some three million animals each year.
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