A new genetic study has revealed that some mosquito species are better at transmitting malaria. 60 out of 450 mosquito species (in Anopheles genus) have evolved better and are capable of injecting the Plasmodium parasite in humans that causes malaria. Research also found the most dangerous mosquito in Anopheles genus, ‘Anopheles gambia’, that is capable of swapping genes at chromosome level.
Igor Sharakhov, an associate professor of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said, “We found that complete intermixing can be prevented if there are multiple rearrangements on the sex chromosome. Also, the traits that enhance the mosquitoes’ malaria transmission capabilities can cross species boundaries if other chromosomes encode them.”
The study involved 16 mosquito species evolved from same species nearly 100 million years ago from several countries including Africa, Aisa, Latin America and Europe. After observing these species for several years researchers found that mosquitoes have evolved and adapted to different environment conditions and have developed several new capabilities for transmitting malaria.
Scientist took a major leap by understanding the sequencing of genomes. This might help them in better understanding the evolution process. The result will also pour some light on biological differences in different species that rose while evolution. Above all, with better understanding, scientists will able to develop new precautionary measures and medicines to fight against malaria that hits India and world every year killing several people.
“With the availability of genome sequences from Anopheles mosquitoes of divergent lineages, variable adaptations, and differing disease-transmission abilities, we now have the exciting opportunity to significantly improve our understanding of these important malaria vectors and develop new strategies to combat malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases,” said Zhijian Tu, a professor of biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The study was published in the journal Science.