Simplify, simplify: Lifestyle and compact genome of the body louse provide a unique functional genomics opportunity.

TitleSimplify, simplify: Lifestyle and compact genome of the body louse provide a unique functional genomics opportunity.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsPittendrigh BR, Berenbaum MR, Seufferheld MJ, Margam VM, Strycharz JP, Yoon KS, Sun W, Reenan R, Lee SH, Clark JM
JournalCommunicative & integrative biology
Volume4
Issue2
Pagination188-91
Date Published2011 Mar
ISSN1942-0889
AbstractThe body louse, with its recently sequenced genome, is now primed to serve as a powerful model organism for addressing fundamental questions relating to how insects interact with their environment. One characteristic of the body louse that facilitates this research is the size of its genome-the smallest insect genome sequenced to date. This diminutive genome must nonetheless control an organism that senses and responds to its environment, reacting to threats of corporal and genomic integrity. Additionally, the body louse transmits several important human diseases compared to its very close relative, the head louse, which does not. Therefore, these two organisms comprise an excellent model system for studying molecular mechanisms associated with vector competence. To understand more fully the development of vector/pathogen interactions, we have developed an in vitro bioassay system and determined that the body louse genome appears to contain the genes necessary for RNAi. The body louse will therefore be useful for determining the set of conditions permissive to the evolution of vector competence.
DOI10.4161/cib.4.2.14279
Alternate JournalCommun Integr Biol
PubMed ID21655436