Science & Technology

Scientists decode genes of the house fly

Understanding the fly genome could help us improve human health and the environment

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 14 October 2014


A group of scientists has sequenced and analysed the genome of the house fly, identifying the genes that allow it to survive in toxic environments. The study has been published in the journal, Genome Biology.

Researchers say that by understanding how flies are immune to the diseases they carry, it would become possible to find treatments or vaccines for diseases like typhoid and tuberculosis.

The house fly (Musca domestica), which lives on human and animal waste, is critical to scientific study in its capacity as waste decomposer and carrier of several human diseases. 

The consortium sequenced the genomes of six female houseflies and compared it to the genome of the common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). The comparison showed that house flies had many more immune genes than the Drosophila genome. 

"House flies are a fascinating insect for scientists in many areas, such as developmental biology, sex determination, immunity, toxicology and physiology. The completed genome will be a phenomenal tool for researchers in all of these fields and will facilitate rapid advancements,” lead author of the paper, Jeff Scott, said in an article

The fly genome will also help researchers understand detoxification genes that help the fly break down waste. This information could help us deal with human waste and improve the environment.


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