Genome sequencing projects have presented the opportunity for analysis of developmental genes in three vector mosquito species: Aedes aegypti, Culex quinquefasciatus, and Anopheles gambiae. A comparative genomic analysis of developmental genes in Drosophila melanogaster and these three important vectors of human disease was performed in this investigation. While the study was comprehensive, special emphasis centered on genes that 1) are components of developmental signaling pathways, 2) regulate fundamental developmental processes, 3) are critical for the development of tissues of vector importance, 4) function in developmental processes known to have diverged within insects, and 5) encode microRNAs (miRNAs) that regulate developmental transcripts in Drosophila. While most fruit fly developmental genes are conserved in the three vector mosquito species, several genes known to be critical for Drosophila development were not identified in one or more mosquito genomes. In other cases, mosquito lineage-specific gene gains with respect to D. melanogaster were noted. Sequence analyses also revealed that numerous repetitive sequences are a common structural feature of Drosophila and mosquito developmental genes. Finally, analysis of predicted miRNA binding sites in fruit fly and mosquito developmental genes suggests that the repertoire of developmental genes targeted by miRNAs is species-specific. The results of this study provide insight into the evolution of developmental genes and processes in dipterans and other arthropods, serve as a resource for those pursuing analysis of mosquito development, and will promote the design and refinement of functional analysis experiments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)