An international consortium of almost 30 organizations present a draft sequence of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the primary vector for yellow fever and dengue fever. Though five times the size of the genome of the malaria-carrying Anopheles gambia, much of it is conserved between the two. In a related study, researchers compared A. aegypti's genome to both those of A. gambia and Drosophila melanogaster, discovering both conserved and rapidly evolving features associated with different functional categories. A related commentary offers insight on the health impact of this new knowledge.
Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center revived an endogenous retrovirus present in primate genomes but not humans, and found that while a primate antiviral factor can resist both the ancient virus and HIV, the same human antiviral protein can't resist HIV. Apparently, they conclude, selective changes in humans resulted in acquiring resistance to one ancient virus while making us more susceptible to HIV.
A news piece covers a commentary published this month in Nature Biotechnology, in which the International Consortium for Polynucleotide Synthesis lays out an oversight framework for corporate DNA synthesis activities. While Blue Heron Bio and others would like protective guidelines, environmental groups fear that bioterrorism and ecologic catastrophe are threats that need more formal regulations.