Tsetse fly genome breakthrough brings hope for African farmers
24 April 2014, Rome and Vienna - Scientists have cracked the genetic code of the bloodsucking tsetse fly. This breakthrough will help future efforts to control one of the most devastating livestock diseases in sub-Saharan Africa spread by the insect. The tsetse genome was sequenced and annotated during a 10-year international collaborative effort that involved the Insect Pest Control Laboratory, run jointly by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. Found only in Africa, tsetse flies can cause an often-lethal disease that affects some 3 million animals in the region each year. The disease leads to a debilitating chronic condition that reduces fertility, weight gain, meat and milk production, and makes livestock too weak to be used for ploughing or transport, which in turn affects crop production.
Kostas Bourtzis is a Molecular Biologist based in Vienna working in the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. In the following interview he elaborates on why this scientific breakthrough is so important and what it means for food security.
Produit par: Sandra Ferrari