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Tsetse Genomics and Bioinformatics

Dr. Rosemary Bateta from BRI-KALRO with her team in the field processing captured tsetse flies in Nguruman Kenya

International Glossina Genome Initiative (IGGI) was established in 2004 to promote Glossina genome sequencing and bioinformatics activities. Expanding genomics resources is expected to also build the Glossina community. The genome sequence of Glossina is of interest not only as an important vector but also for evolutionary comparison due its positioning in the higher Diptera. IGGI has helped develop extensive transcriptome resources for Glossina morsitans morsitans, including various RNAseq based libraries from the midgut, fatbody and salivary gland tissues of normal and parasitized flies. In addition, host development specific libraries as well as reproductive libraries have been analyzed. The complete genome sequence of G. m. morsitans was published in 2014 in Science Magazine. There was also a collection of articles published in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases under a collection titled, “Tsetse Genome Biology Collection” . This collection of articles addressed various functional biology questions building on the genome data as well as historical perspectives on HAT epidemics and their control in Africa. At the present time, five additional Glossina genomes have been sequenced and a comparative genome paper is under preparation.