African labs win key role in tsetse genome project
A global research consortium has been created to sequence the genome of the tsetse fly, which carries the parasite that causes sleeping sickness.
The International Glossina Genomic Initiative, launched at a meeting in January last week, will involve African scientists from the start. If the initiative is funded, most of the sequencing will be done in Europe and the United States, but much of the genomic and bioinformatics analysis will be carried out in Africa.
Half a million people are infected by sleeping sickness, and it is fatal if left untreated. The animal form of the disease is a scourge of African cattle, costing farmers US$4.5 billion a year.