The Kiss of Death
Due to the overwhelming problems the U.S. has had this year with the kissing bug spreading Chagas disease to unsuspecting Americans, when previously the pest was settled away from us in Latin and Central America, researchers are performing studies to find a way to control the kissing bug and stop the spread of Chagas disease. Scientists at Florida International University are finished sequencing nearly all of the kissing bugs’ DNA, providing a complete analysis of its genetic material. Researchers hope that by understanding exactly how the kissing bug’s body works, they can find a source for either counteracting the disease or eliminating the bug that’s spreading it
So far they have found the duplication of genes that are then gradually transformed into different genes. These genes that relate to the kissing bugs feeding, digestion, and stimuli detection directly facilitate its blood-feeding lifestyle. They also discovered a strange relationship between the insect and the disease it carries that allows the insect to carry the disease while not being affected physically by it, and yet still transmit it to humans. Researchers are steadily understanding the relationship between the bug and the parasite, as well as the human host.
What do you think of these groundbreaking studies? Do you think they will be able to find a way to control the spread of Chagas disease?