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This Week in Science: Apr 26, 2014

In Science this week, researchers from the International Glossina Genome Initiative present the sequence of the tsetse fly, the primary vector for the parasites that cause trypanosomiasis. They show that the tsetse fly, which survives entirely on blood, relies on a number of bacterial symbionts for nutrients that aren’t supplied by their meals. They also suggest that the tsetse fly has incorporated some of the chromosomes of such symbionts as well as some unidentified viruses from parasitic wasps during the course of its evolution. The team also found that the 12 genes tied to tsetse fly milk constitute about half of all gene expression in lactating female flies and are very similar to those of placental mammals and marsupials. Further, the fly's visual system appears similar to that of fast-flying houseflies and blowflies. Consistent with their strict diets and narrow host ranges, the tsetse fly genome harbors fewer sensory and immune response genes compared to relatives.

GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this here.

Also in Science, a team led by University of Montreal researchers describe the outcome of a next-generation sequencing study of mitochondrial RNA variation in nearly 1,000 men and women of predominantly French-Canadian descent. They found considerable variation in mtRNA between individuals that was not seen in the DNA sequencing of the same samples, indicating that this variation reflects post-transcriptional modification of mtRNA.