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Worldwide Effort Unveils Malaria Mosquito Genome

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 3 - The genome of the mosquito responsible for carrying the malaria parasite has been sequenced, scientists announced today.


The sequence contains 278 million base pairs, with 91 percent of the genome organized in 303 scaffolds, the largest of which is 23.1 million base pairs, according to the sequence paper in this week's Science.


The Anopheles gambiae genome was sequenced by a public-private effort lead by Celera Genomics. It has been reported that the sequencing took 15 months and cost $14 million, with significant funding from the National Institutes of Health and France's Genoscope. Researchers from The Institute for Genomic Research, the Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the Welcome Trust Sanger Institute were among the contributors to the sequencing effort.


"The bulk of the sequencing work for A. gambiae was completed in a public-private partnership that, although not the first of its kind, is another shining example of the possibilities of such programs," write the authors of an editorial accompanying the genome's publication in Science.


The genome sequence data will be immediately put to use in devising new strategies to stop the spread of the malaria-carrying mosquito, according to the editorial.


The sequencing of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, was announced yesterday.

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