Wednesday January 29, 2020

Researchers Develop a Tool That Attracts and Captures Female Mosquitoes Looking for Site to Lay Eggs

AGO traps are a novel chemical-free, effective approach to control Aedes aegypti (Yellow fever mosquito) populations

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Researchers, Tool, Mosquitoes
The study, published in the journal PLOS, shows that Autocidal Gravid Ovitrap (AGP trap) successfully protected people from getting infected with the chikungunya virus in Puerto Rico. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a tool that attracts and captures female mosquitoes looking for a site to lay eggs, which in the future may help curb the chikungunya virus.

The study, published in the journal PLOS, shows that Autocidal Gravid Ovitrap (AGP trap) successfully protected people from getting infected with the chikungunya virus in Puerto Rico.

“AGO traps are a novel chemical-free, effective approach to control Aedes aegypti (Yellow fever mosquito) populations and provide protection from infection with the pathogens that these mosquitoes transmit,” said researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Further evaluations should determine if AGO traps are sustainable and effective in large scale community trials,” they said.

Researchers, Tool, Mosquitoes
Researchers have developed a tool that attracts and captures female mosquitoes looking for a site to lay eggs, which in the future may help curb the chikungunya virus. Pixabay

The lack of effective tools to control Aedes aegypti mosquito populations has resulted in the continued expansion of the dengue virus, zika virus and chikungunya virus.

For the study, the researchers randomly selected 290 households in Puerto Rican communities that had AGO trap interventions and 349 households in communities without AGO traps. From intervention communities, 175 household members were analysed and 152 from non-intervention communities.

Blood samples were collected from each participant to detect chikungunya virus infection and surveys recorded demographic information as well as data on mosquito repellent and bed net use and frequency of mosquito bites.

A total of 114 participants (34.9 per cent) were seropositive for the chikungunya virus. Among people who spent most of their daytime hours inside the community they lived in, 10.3 per cent were seropositive for chikungunya virus in communities with AGO traps whereas 48.7 per cent were positive for chikungunya virus in communities without traps.

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Among all participants, including those who did not spend as much daylight time within the community, 26.1 per cent were seropositive for the chikungunya virus in the intervention communities and 43.8 per cent were positive in communities without traps. (IANS)

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Researchers Identify 102 Genes Associated with Autism

It's critically important that families of children with and without autism participate in genetic studies because genetic discoveries are the primary means to understanding the molecular, cellular, and systems-level underpinnings of autism

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Autism
Researchers have discovered how a Genetic Alteration that increases the risk of developing Autism and Tourette's impairs brain communication. Pixabay

In the largest genetic sequencing study of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to date, researchers have identified 102 genes associated with risk for autism.

The discovery shows significant progress towards teasing apart the genes associated with autism from those associated with intellectual disability and developmental delay, conditions which often overlap.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one in 160 children has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

ASDs begin in childhood and tend to persist into adolescence and adulthood. In most cases the conditions are apparent during the first five years of life.

“This is a landmark study, both for its size and for the large international collaborative effort it required.

“With these identified genes we can begin to understand what brain changes underlie ASD and begin to consider novel treatment approaches,” said Joseph D Buxbaum, Director of the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

For the study published in the journal Cell, an international team of researchers from more than 50 sites collected and analyzed more than 35,000 participant samples, including nearly 12,000 with ASD, the largest autism sequencing cohort to date.

Autism
Families of children with autism face high physical, mental and emotional burdens, are sometimes ridiculed and even accused of child abuse, says a new study. Pixabay

Using an enhanced analytic framework to integrate both rare, inherited genetic mutations and those occurring spontaneously when the egg or sperm are formed, researchers identified the 102 genes associated with ASD risk.

Of those genes, 49 were also associated with other developmental delays.

The larger sample size of this study enabled the research team to increase the number of genes associated with ASD from 65 in 2015 to 102 today.

In addition to identifying subsets of the 102 ASD-associated genes, the researchers showed that ASD genes impact brain development or function and that both types of disruptions can result in autism.

“Through our genetic analyses, we discovered that it’s not just one major class of cells implicated in autism, but rather that many disruptions in brain development and in neuronal function can lead to autism,” said Buxbaum.

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It’s critically important that families of children with and without autism participate in genetic studies because genetic discoveries are the primary means to understanding the molecular, cellular, and systems-level underpinnings of autism.

“We now have specific, powerful tools that help us understand those underpinnings, and new drugs will be developed based on our newfound understanding of the molecular bases of autism,” the researchers noted. (IANS)