A Breakthrough for Global Public Health

A Breakthrough for Global Public Health - PERSPECTIVES...

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www.sciencemag.org SCIENCE VOL 316 22 JUNE 2007 1703 CREDIT: DEAN CORNWELL, PUBLISHED WITH PERMISSION FROM WYETH T he reemergence of dengue fever and urban yellow fever in the Americas during the past 20 years demonstrates that mos- quito-borne diseases are threats even in the 21st century. Glo- bally, about 50 million to 100 million cases of dengue and about 500,000 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever occur annu- ally ( 1 ). Recently, an unprece- dented chikungunya virus out- break occurred in countries bor- dering the Indian Ocean, with ~250,000 cases and 205 deaths. The threat of mosquito-borne pathogens is very real, with dengue, yellow fever, and chik- ungunya viruses all being trans- mitted by the mosquito Aedes aegypti . On page 1718 of this issue, Nene et al . report the complete genome sequence of Ae. aegypti ( 2 ). This comes about 4 years after the complete genome sequence of Anopheles gambiae , the primary mosquito vector of malaria in Africa ( 3 ). It is also a little over 100 years since Ae. aegypti was shown to transmit yellow fever. As the blueprint for the vector’s biology, the Ae. aegypti genome se- quence is another major advance in the his- tory of combating mosquito-borne disease. Mosquito-borne disease control is currently based on clinical management of patients and mosquito control because efficient vaccines are unavailable. The challenge ahead is to use genome sequence information to understand gene and protein functions and the causes of mosquito diversity that determine the role of Ae. aegypti in pathogen transmission ( 4 ). The completed sequence should greatly facilitate the identification of Ae. aegypti genes and proteins that control a wide range of traits such as vector competence and capacity for pathogen transmission, life his- tory, olfactory cues that affect behavior, host seeking, mating behavior, and insecticide resistance. The genome sequence should also help identify new DNA markers and allow DNA fingerprinting for ecological studies. Such tools are essential to characterize both individual mosquitoes and natural popula- tions of Ae. aegypti . Genetic characterization of mosquito populations should reveal how pathogen transmission is influenced by gene flow, geographic isolation, and population dynamics and dispersal. Moreover, charac- terizing gene variation in natural populations will provide a basis for understanding the risk for Ae. aegypti –borne epidemics. For example, yellow fever has never been reported in Asia, despite the presence of dengue and Ae. aegypti . Such an epidemic would be a catastrophe. Tools for genetically altering
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This note was uploaded on 04/05/2010 for the course SSH 494 taught by Professor Hurtado during the Fall '09 term at ASU.

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A Breakthrough for Global Public Health - PERSPECTIVES...

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