Brian Johnson, Andrea Egizi and Dana Price submitted a grant proposal to the American Mosquito Control Association Research Fund. Their project will develop a novel shotgun sequencing approach to analyze metagenomic material (genetic material sampled directly from environmental samples) collected from sentinel nucleic acid preservation cards to improve our knowledge of arboviral transmission dynamics across landscapes. The approach, shotgun sequencing, is a method of obtaining long sequences of DNA and RNA by breaking up genetic material randomly into small segments, which are sequenced resulting in the production of many overlapping reads (sequences) of each individual segment. Once complete, the overlapping ends of the multiple sequences allow for the assemblage of a single, large continuous sequence. This technology will be used to analyze metagenomic material sampled remotely using nucleic acid preservation cards to sample DNA and RNA from direct vector contact, either through feeding (collection of saliva) or excreta sampling. This method will allow researchers to analyze vector and pathogen diversity as well as the microbiome content of collected vector species in the absence of the logistical constraints of traditional surveillance and sample preservation. These data will further our knowledge of arboviral transmission across landscapes and investigate the potential functions of the microbiome on virus transmission. The hope is that through this pilot project, the researchers will be able to provide trapping and workflow protocols to enable other researchers to adopt this tool to improve upon existing arbovirus surveillance methodologies.
Center for Vector Biology
dina.fonseca at rutgers dot edu