Tuesday, May 26, 2015Tuesday, May 26, 2015

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.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!