A team of researchers announced its first draft of the genome of Rhodnius prolixus, a vector of Chagas disease transmission, reports SciDev.Net. Chagas disease is caused by a parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, that is transmitted by triatomine bugs like R. prolixus. "We chose R. prolixus because it has the smallest genome among all bugs from the triatomine family," says Pedro Oliveira from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro to SciDev.Net. The draft was presented at the International Workshop for Genomic and Triatomine Biology in La Plata, Argentina.
"If we discover why the kissing bug — and not other insects — transmits the parasite we could study the mechanism to inhibit this transmission," adds the National University of La Plata's Rolando Rivera-Pomar.