Pests and Parasites

Pests and Parasites News -- ScienceDaily Pest and Parasite Research News. Read today's research on pests and parasites and consider ways to deal with them.

  • Tropical viruses: Coming soon to Europe?
    on June 23, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    The mosquito-borne viral disease Chikungunya is usually found in tropical areas. Researchers have now discovered how climate change is facilitating the spread of the Chikungunya virus. Even if climate change only progresses moderately – as scientists are currently observing – the risk of infection will continue to increase in many regions of the world through the end of the 21st century. If climate change continues unchecked, the virus could even spread to southern Europe and the United States. […]

  • How do genes get new jobs? Wasp venom offers new insights
    on June 22, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    A new study describes how four closely related species of parasitic wasps change their venoms rapidly in order to adapt to new hosts, and proposes that co-option of single copy genes may be a common but relatively understudied mechanism of evolution for new gene functions, particularly under conditions of rapid evolutionary change. […]

  • First Chikungunya-infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes found in Brazil
    on June 22, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    While more than 13,000 cases of Chikungunya viral disease were reported in Brazil in 2015, scientists had never before detected the virus in a captured mosquito in this country. Now, researchers have identified a mosquito -- caught in the Brazilian city of Aracaju -- that's naturally infected with the East-Central-South-African (ECSA) genotype of Chikungunya. […]

  • Pathogen that causes sleeping sickness: Promising new target
    on June 22, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    The life-threatening African trypanosomiasis, also called sleeping sickness, is caused by protozoa of the species Trypanosoma brucei. A team of researchers has studied the pathogens and reported exciting news: The trypanosomes have a so far unknown enzyme which does not exist in humans and other vertebrates. This makes it a promising target for therapy. […]

  • Mathematical biology tackles destructive plant virus
    on June 20, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Plant diseases pose a serious threat to global food security, especially in developing countries, where millions of people depend on consuming what they harvest. In sub-Saharan Africa, one plant disease in particular -- maize lethal necrosis -- is ravaging one of the region's preferred crops for food, feed and income. But understanding its biology in order to manage the disease is difficult because the disease arises from two viruses interacting -- which is where mathematics comes into play. […]

  • How to stop the nasty lurking toxoplasmosis parasite? Target its 'stomach,' research suggests
    on June 19, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    One in three people has a potentially nasty parasite hiding inside their body -- tucked away in tiny cysts that the immune system can't eliminate and antibiotics can't touch. But new research reveals clues about how to stop it: Interfere with its digestion during this stubborn dormant phase. […]

  • Unusual soybean coloration sheds a light on gene silencing
    on June 19, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Today's soybeans are typically golden yellow, with a tiny blackish mark where they attach to the pod. In a field of millions of beans, nearly all of them will have this look. Occasionally, however, a bean will turn up half-black, with a saddle pattern similar to a black-eyed pea. New research indicates why. […]

  • Mutant mosquitoes make insecticide-resistance monitoring key to controlling Zika
    on June 19, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    One of the most common insecticides used in the battle against the Aedes aegypti mosquito has no measurable impact when applied in communities where the mosquito has built up resistance to it, a study finds. […]

  • Gaps remain in surveillance for mosquitoes that transmit Zika, new CDC data shows
    on June 19, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    As concerns over Zika virus have grown since 2015, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has turned to local public health professionals to compile data on distribution of the two primary mosquito species capable of transmitting the virus, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Their findings highlight both the potential widespread presence of the mosquitoes as well as gaps in local surveillance capabilities crucial to understanding the threat of Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases. […]

  • New approach to unlock the genetic potential of plant cell wall
    on June 16, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Researchers have unlocked the genetic secrets of plant cell walls, which could help improve the quality of plant-based foods, outlines a new report. […]

  • Manipulating mosquitoes with light
    on June 16, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Exposure to just 10 minutes of light at night suppresses biting and manipulates flight behavior in the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, the major vector for transmission of malaria in Africa, according to new research. […]

  • 8 in 10 Indonesian children has been infected with dengue
    on June 15, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Indonesia has one of the highest burdens of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne virus, in the world, and children account for many cases. Well over half of all children in urban areas are infected with dengue by the age of 5, and more than 80 percent have been infected with the virus at least once by age 10, researchers now report. […]

  • New genetic technique could help identify potential drug targets for malaria
    on June 15, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Scientists have developed a new technique for investigating the effects of gene deletion at later stages in the life cycle of a parasite that causes malaria in rodents, according to a new study. The novel approach could enhance research into potential drug targets for malaria treatment. […]

  • Scientists reveal mechanism behind mosquito-borne-disease 'blocker' used to fight viruses
    on June 15, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    A new study may explain how a bacterium called Wolbachia prevents mosquitoes from transmitting deadly diseases such as dengue fever, West Nile virus and Zika. […]

  • Plant compound more powerful than AZT against HIV
    on June 15, 2017 at 1:09 am

    A plant found throughout Southeast Asia traditionally used to treat arthritis and rheumatism contains a potent anti-HIV compound more powerful than the drug AZT, according to a new paper. […]

  • Anti-malaria drugs: Potential new target identified
    on June 14, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    A newly described protein could be an effective target for combatting drug-resistant malaria parasites. The protein regulates a number of genes involved with a critical part of the parasite's complex life cycle -- its invasion of a person's red blood cells. Now that the researchers know the protein's role in this invasion process, they have a completely new angle for developing new antimalarial drugs for targeting the malaria parasite. […]

  • The glue that keeps cells together
    on June 14, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Studies shed new light on cell-cell contacts: Physical effects play an important role in their generation and stability. […]

  • Fighting fire blight and detecting Salmonella
    on June 13, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Researchers have created an effective weapon against the plant disease fire blight and a new method for detection of Salmonella. Both are based on particular viruses that attack only one species of bacteria. […]

  • Mosquito-killing fungi engineered with spider and scorpion toxins could help fight malaria
    on June 13, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    A mosquito-killing fungus genetically engineered to produce spider and scorpion toxins could serve as a highly effective biological control mechanism to fight malaria-carrying mosquitoes, scientists report. The fungus is specific to mosquitoes and does not pose a risk to humans. Further, the study results suggest that the fungus is also safe for honey bees and other insects. […]

  • Male farmers at highest risk of contracting 'monkey malaria' in Malaysia
    on June 9, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    Adult male farmers in Malaysia are more than twice as likely to contract Plasmodium knowlesi malaria -- an infection usually found only in monkeys -- than other people in their communities, according to a new study. […]

  • Chemicals used to combat Zika, agricultural pests impact motor skills in infants
    on June 9, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    A chemical currently being used to ward off mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus and a commonly used insecticide that was threatened with a ban in the United States have been associated with reduced motor function in Chinese infants, a study found. […]

  • Parasitic nematodes that cause greatest agricultural damage abandoned sex
    on June 9, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    The nematode worms that cause the world's most devastating crop losses have given up on sexual reproduction and instead rely on their large, duplicated genomes to thrive in new environments, report scientists. […]

  • Fractal planting patterns yield optimal harvests, without central control
    on June 9, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Bali's famous rice terraces, when seen from above, look like colorful mosaics because some farmers plant synchronously, while others plant at different times. The resulting fractal patterns are rare for human-made systems and lead to optimal harvests without global planning. […]

  • Could edible insects help global food security?
    on June 8, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Australian consumers are taking part in a research study to help realize the potential for edible insects as a food industry. Consumer attitudes are being put to the test with an offering of roasted crickets and ants, mealworm cookies and cricket energy bars. […]

  • Sahara greening may intensify tropical cyclone activity worldwide
    on June 8, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Future climate warming could lead to a re-greening of the southernmost Sahara (Sahel), with decreased dust emissions and changes in land cover. In a recent study, researchers have found that tropical cyclone activity may have increased during past warm climates in connection with a greening of the Sahara. […]

  • World's oldest fossil mushroom found
    on June 7, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Roughly 115 million years ago, when the ancient supercontinent Gondwana was breaking apart, a mushroom fell into a river and began an improbable journey. Its ultimate fate as a mineralized fossil preserved in limestone in northeast Brazil makes it a scientific wonder, scientists report. […]

  • Data from satellite imagery useful for malaria early warning systems
    on June 7, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    A new model has been created that uses seasonal weather data from satellite images to accurately predict outbreak of malaria with a one-month lead time. With a so-called GAMBOOST model, a host of weather information gathered from satellite images can be used as a cost-effective disease forecasting model, allowing health officials to get ahead of the malaria infection curve by allocating resources and mobilizing public health responses. […]

  • Overcoming immune suppression to fight against bovine leukemia
    on June 7, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    A newly developed antibody drug reactivates suppressed immune cells, decreasing the bovine leukemia virus (BLV) counts in an infected cow. The antibody could be applied to treat a variety of intractable infectious diseases in cows. […]

  • Development of a novel vaccine for Zika
    on June 5, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Researchers have developed a new Zika virus vaccine that gives 100 percent protection in mice. The vaccine is the first to be based on the Zika virus NS1 protein, and the first to show single-dose protection against Zika in an immunocompetent lethal mouse challenge model. […]

  • Details of Lassa virus structure could inform development of vaccines, therapies
    on June 2, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    A 10-year Lassa virus research project has yielded structural and functional details of a key viral surface protein that could help advance development of Lassa vaccines and antibody-based therapeutics, which are currently lacking. […]