1) What was the research project?
This project was looking at the genus Anopheles, which is the only genus of mosquitos that can transmit malaria, and trying to map the genomic material of each species within the genus to find which variations within the genome allow for conditions suited for malaria transmission and which variations do not so that future experiments can dive further into this to try to combat malaria and other diseases.
2) Were they testing a hypothesis or doing discovery science?
The project was discovery science. They had sequenced the genomes for 16 different species of mosquito taken from areas of the world where malaria is prevalent. In addition to sequencing the genomes they also used RNA sequencing transcriptomes in order to find out which genes were actually being expressed. This project was simply trying to provide 16 reference genomes for future experiments to gain further insight on a very surface level understanding into what allows for a mosquito species to be more fit to transmit malaria over others.
What genomic technology was used in the project?
The project began with sequencing “genomic DNA and whole-body RNA” (Neafsey, et al, 2015) that were obtained from both “laboratory colonies and wild-caught specimens” (Neafsey, et al, 2015) using Illumina sequencing. They then used genome annotation and RNA sequencing of transcriptomes to get a complete picture of protein-encoding genes for each species of mosquito. The Anopheles genus has a closest relative with the genus Drosphila so they first looked at the chromosomes and where on the chromosomes is there frequent recombination within each species and then used this information to determine which sequences were ancestral and which were species specific. They found that the X chromosome had the highest rates of rearrangement. After obtaining this information they looked at which genes and chromosomes encode which traits that are seen to be important for a mosquito’s ability to transmit malaria through the use of both genomic analysis and RNA sequencing of transcriptomes.
Figure 2. (A) Chromosomal mapping of genes within species to show rearrangement throughout evolution. (C) Levels of rearrangement for each species at given elements. (D) Diagram of gene movement in a chromosome. Band size is proportional to the number of genes imported/exported from that area.
5) What is your evaluation of the project?
Digital image. Scientists Against Malaria. Web.
Daniel E. Neafsey1,*,†, Robert M.
Waterhouse2,3,4,5,*, Mohammad R. Abai6, Sergey S. Aganezov7, Max A.
Alekseyev7, James E. Allen8, James Amon9, Bruno Arcà10, Peter
Arensburger11, Gleb Artemov12, Lauren A. Assour13, Hamidreza Basseri6,
Aaron Berlin1, Bruce, Daniel E. Neafsey, Robert M. Waterhouse,
Mohammad R. Abai, Sergey S. Aganezov, Max A. Alekseyev, James E.
Allen, James Amon, Bruno Arcà, Peter Arensburger, Gleb Artemov, Lauren
A. Assour, Hamidreza Basseri, Aaron Berlin, Bruce W. Birren, Stephanie
A. Blan, and Science02 Jan 2015. "Highly
Evolvable Malaria Vectors: The Genomes of 16 Anopheles Mosquitoes."
Highly Evolvable Malaria Vectors: The Genomes of 16 Anopheles
Mosquitoes | Science. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.
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