Tick tock - sequencing the tick genome could help defuse the Lyme disease time bomb

tique

After a decade-long research effort the genome of the deer tick has been sequenced by an international team of scientists, including researchers from the University of Geneva Medical School and the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics. Studying the tick genome sheds light on how ticks function and will help to develop novel tick control programmes by interfering with the processes of disease transmission. The deer tick transmits Lyme disease and other diseases, which cause thousands of human and animal deaths annually. With about 10,000 new patients each year, occurrences of Lyme disease in Switzerland are amongst the highest in Europe, representing a substantial healthcare cost and threatening Swiss tourism. Sequencing the genome of the Ixodes scapularis tick was a decade-long project, led by Purdue University entomologist Catherine Hill, and involving 93 scientists from 46 institutions, including researchers from the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, the University of Geneva Faculty of Medicine, and the University of Lausanne’s Centre for Integrative Genomics. I. scapularis is the first tick species to have its genome sequenced, with the results published in the journal Nature Communications.

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11 février 2016

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