Scientists identifies way to destroy the bedbug

Posted on February 6, 2016 03:36 am

Researchers at the American Museum of Natural History and Weill Cornell Medicine have mapped the genome of bedbugs in New York City, then traced fragments of the nefarious pests’ DNA through the subway system according to findings published in Nature Communications.Their work could help combat pesticide resistance in the unwelcome parasite. The data also provide a rich genetic resource for mapping bedbug activity in human hosts and in cities, including subways.Bedbugs emerge from their hiding places at night, driven to slake their thirst for human blood and the tiny insects have staged a global resurgence in the past two decades after being nearly eradicated in many regions. Bedbugs, found on every continent except Antarctica, have been biting people for thousands of years. Widespread insecticide use in homes after World War Two eliminated them from many regions but bedbugs rebounded by developing pesticide resistance, thriving in heated homes and hitching rides in luggage in international travel.The scientists identified genes responsible for their insecticide resistance, genes involved in mitigating the traumatic effects of their brand of copulation and anti-coagulant genes useful for an insect that makes blood its exclusive source of nutrients and water.These genetic traits may present vulnerabilities that could be exploited with future insecticides.

Above is the most common bedbug (Cimex lectularius) has been biting human for thousands of years
Above is the most common bedbug (Cimex lectularius) has been biting human for thousands of years

The genome also harbors numerous genes that originated in bacteria, including one that helps bedbugs metabolize vitamin B. This indicates antibiotics that target bacteria beneficial to bedbugs could be used to control the insects.“This is an enormous new tool for researchers interested in controlling this pest,” said George Amato, director of the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.“Bed bugs are now very widespread in most major cities around the world, and they have increasingly become resistant to insecticides, making them harder to control,” American Museum of Natural History entomologist Louis Sorkin said. During mating, male bedbugs stab a V-shaped area of a female’s abdomen with their sickle-shaped genitalia. Females possess genes that control a protein that makes that part of their anatomy stronger and better able to withstand this rough sex. Adult bed bugs measure roughly a quarter inch (5 mm) and are reddish-brown. Their bites are not known to transmit disease but some people have very strong allergic reactions, Weill Cornell Medicine geneticist Christopher Mason said.“Bed bugs will hide in a variety of places throughout a home. Commonly, they will be on the seams of couches and beds or hidden within the frames of furniture. They have been found in electrical sockets, in drawers or where floors and walls meet,” University of Cincinnati entomologist Joshua Benoit added.

Contador Harrison