Genome is the complete set of genes present in a cell or organism. The 691 Mb genome that has been sequenced and analysed by a global consortium of scientists could provide insights into pathogen immunity, pest control and decomposing waste.

Understanding how this fly is immune to human diseases it carries could help scientists to create treatments or vaccines for these diseases. The researchers also found that the genome contained unique detoxification genes, which produce proteins that help the fly break down waste.

Information about these genes could help handle human waste and improve the environment."House flies are a fascinating insect for scientists in many areas, such as developmental biology, sex determination, immunity, toxicology and physiology," said lead author Jeff Scott from the Cornell University in the US."The completed genome will be a phenomenal tool for researchers in all of these fields and will facilitate rapid advancements," Scott explained.

The house fly (Musca domestica) lives on human and animal waste. The scientists sequenced the genomes of six female houseflies, creating a 691 Mb long sequence. They compared it to the 123 Mb Drosophila melanogaster genome, to give an indication of genes that were unique to the house fly and could be candidates for further study.

The comparison showed that the fly had many more immune genes, and that these were of a higher diversity than the Drosophila genome. A house fly could carry over 100 human diseases, including typhoid and tuberculosis. Fly transmitted trachoma alone causes six million cases of childhood blindness each year.

The findings appeared in the journal Genome Biology.


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