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

Geneva, 10 February 2016 - 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 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 Medical School, 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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SIB joins the fight against Zika

A page dedicated to the Zika virus has recently been published by ViralZone – one of SIB’s core knowledge resources on virus diversity. The Zika virus is an emerging pathogene. As such, most knowledge referring directly to it is scarce, or must be retrieved from viruses of the same family in various articles, books, databases etc.

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Genome of the bed bug explains insecticide resistance and brutal sex

Sequencing the bed bug genome has shed light on how to devise strategies against their resistance to insecticides - this is the result of the work of two different groups of scientists - including members of the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics. The groups recently decoded the bed bug’s genome in the search for new approaches to combat the spread of bed bugs. Both articles were published early February in Nature Communications.

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Latest Protein Spotlight issue: Shaping Life

We take our shape for granted. As we do the contours of our eyes and the curves of our heart. But for everything to be sculpted the way Nature has found it best for us to be, cells need to know when to multiply and when to stop multiplying, in addition to knowing how to remain close to one another while dealing with external forces such as the gravitational pull.

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