Application of next generation sequencing of mosquito excreta to identify arboviruses, microorganisms and mosquito species

Sequencing known and unknown pathogens present in mosquito poo

Traditional testing for arboviruses in mosquitoes requires a priori knowledge and choosing appropriate assays for their detection. Mosquitoes can potentially provide a lot of additional information, including other unexpected or unknown arboviruses, and their own genetic material. Moreover, mosquitoes in effect act as environmental samplers (“flying syringes”), taking blood from the humans and animals they feed upon. These blood samples could potentially be infected with other pathogens that are not necessarily mosquito-transmitted.

Next generation sequencing is a rapidly advancing technology that allows us to obtain all this information from a sample without any prior knowledge of virus, host or vector. We are proposing to use next generation sequencing of mosquito excreta to identify pathogens in mosquitoes collected from locations where different vertebrate groups inhabit, including urban areas, bat colonies, domesticated animals, marsupials, reptiles and avian hosts.

  • Dr Andrew van den Hurk

  • Professor Scott Ritchie

  • James Cook University

  • January - December 2018

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