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UCR scientists to explore new genetic tools in mosquito research: Transposable elements
Date:2/11/2011

RIVERSIDE, Calif. A team of scientists at the University of California, Riverside has begun working on a mosquito research project that, if successful, will provide valuable genetic resources capable of transforming the way mosquito research is conducted around the world.

The three-year project, funded by a $1 million grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation, commenced this month.

Led by Susan R. Wessler, who holds a University of California President's Chair and is a distinguished professor of genetics in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, the researchers will study mosquito genome sequences to identify "transposable elements" DNA pieces that can move from one genomic location to another.

Transposable elements (TEs) play vital roles in gene and genome evolution by changing DNA amount and building up mutations. They contribute the raw material used by plants and animals to adapt to an ever changing environment. They are the most abundant component of the genomes of virtually all eukaryotes, accounting for almost 50 percent of the human genome.

"The mosquito genome-wide immune system is designed to inactivate TEs, and functions like a surveillance system," said Wessler, a world leader in the computational and experimental analysis of TEs. "In this project, when we search for TEs that can move within and between mosquito chromosomes, we will focus on endogenous mosquito TEs those encoded by the mosquito genome that have adapted to overcome the mosquitoes' immune systems. These TEs are not inactivated and may play a role in how mosquitoes adapt to their environment."

Specifically, Wessler and her team will focus on a type of TE called miniature inverted repeat transposa
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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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UCR scientists to explore new genetic tools in mosquito research: Transposable elements
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