New Genome Heralds Change In Lyme Disease Infections

The rodent Peromyscus leucopus is the natural reservoir of several tick-borne infections, including Lyme disease. As Lyme disease increases, researchers have taking a significant step toward finding new ways to prevent its transmission.

But with 2.45 billion of those letters, representing nucleotides that form DNA’s basic structural unit, its genome is similar in size to that of humans. But it provides a road map that makes new research approaches much faster and more efficient. With the genome in hand, the scientists are interested in pursuing several potential avenues for preventing Lyme disease transmission.

Lyme disease infections

But the genetic makeup of the white-footed mouse Peromyscus leucopus; which harbors the Lyme disease-causing bacteria. Borreliella burgdorferi, the bacteria causing the illness. But the complex task of determining the DNA letter sequence that makes up the animal’s genome.

Moreover, it differs from P. leucopus in manifestations of and responses to infection, but the genetic traits of P. leucopus that distinguish this species from M. musculus in this respect and make it a competent reservoir for a variety of pathogens are not known. Lyme disease and associated zoonoses continue to increase in incidence and to spread to previously unaffected areas in North America.

However, among them are developing an environmentally-safe, humane vaccination method for white-footed mice in the wild; a process already used to prevent rabies transmission in other kinds of animals. The harboring Lyme disease, the rodents carry other emerging infections; including a form of viral encephalitis and illnesses similar to malaria and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Nucleotide variation

Thus the information on how to protect people, pets and yards from the insects. But P. leucopus has a high level of segregating nucleotide variation; suggesting that natural resistance alleles to Crispr gene targeting constructs are likely segregating in wild populations.

But white-footed mouse genome is now available for free download; to all who are interesting in Lyme or in the additional disease-causing microorganisms; that can be transferring from the rodent carrier; to humans. As they move forward with their investigations; the researchers say it remains very important for the public to continue safeguarding against Lyme disease by preventing tick bites.

The CDC cites several factors as contributing to Lyme’s rise, including the growth of forests in what were once agricultural fields, the development of suburbs in those areas, and changes in ecological patterns due to climate change. The α and β domains for class II major histocompatibility complex proteins are slightly enriched in P. leucopus, suggesting a capacity for antigen recognition as great, if not greater, than that of M. musculus.