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 SANBI at the forefront of demystifying the tsetse fly

SANBI at the forefront of demystifying the tsetse fly​

In another triumph for South African biomedical research, researchers at UWC’s, South African Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI), with their local and international collaborators, have sequenced the tsetse fly genome.

The International Glossina Genome Initiative (IGGI), which includes scientists at SANBI , led by Professor Alan Christoffels, recently  concluded a ten-year project on the tsetse fly (Glossina morsitans morsitans).  Understanding the genomic structure and behavior of the tsetse fly is pivotal to treating sleeping sickness, a disease that affects about 70 million people in sub-Saharan Africa where the tsetse fly is most commonly found.

A hallmark of this consortium, however, is that African and Africa-based researchers played a decisive leadership role in the research.  According to Professor Christoffels ‘all of the activities were directed at supporting genomics research on the African continent.  We have developed partnerships with researchers across the African continent over the course of the project.  International genome projects are often directed at the primary goal of sequencing the genome and annotating (describing) the genes.  Besides the scientific findings, this programme has demonstrated the value of genomics training in the context of a DNA sequencing project.’  For Professor Christoffels, and his African counterparts, human capacity development was a crucial factor in  the success of their scientific endeavour.

Read the full press release at:


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