The Cockroach’s Unique Genome That Can Contribute to Medicine

Dr. Sheng Li, an entomologist and professor of life sciences at South China’s Normal University in Guangzhou, is leading research on the recently sequenced genome of the American cockroach. This species of insect is remarkable for its resiliency and ability to survive and thrive in many different environments, making it a compelling specimen for study in the quest for knowledge and compounds that can contribute to human medicine.

The American cockroach has one of the longest insect genomes ever sequenced, second only to the locusta migratoria. While there exists an overwhelming amount of genes to examine and design potential experiments around, Dr. Li’s team is currently focusing on the regeneration capabilities of the American cockroach and how that may translate into therapies for humans.

Click here to review the paper published in Nature Communications. Read more on The Doctor’s Channel.

Read more on how insects are combating the battle on Malaria:

These studies point toward the possible efficacy of paratransgenesis in the war against malaria, but the experiments were carried out in the laboratory. A big hurdle is how to introduce recombinant P. agglomerans into mosquitoes in the field. The authors indicate that they have had some success in dealing with this crucial problem by placing baiting stations consisting of clay pots containing cotton balls soaked with sugar and recombinant bacteria surrounding villages where malaria is prevalent. But we don’t yet know the extent of control achieved with this approach, meaning that much more work is needed to establish if this strategy is effective under field conditions. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the engineered bacteria were to spread across the mosquito population and also be transmitted to their offsprings?

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