Submitted to: Society for Tropical Veterinary Medicine
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Bluetongue disease is the cause of non-tariff trade barriers on U.S. livestock resulting in substantial economic losses due to lost trade in livestock and livestock germplasm. The disease is caused by the bluetongue viruses that are transmitted by biting midges in the genus Culicoides. In the U.S. the species that transmits the bluetongue viruses to livestock is Culicoides variipennis. Research is reviewed on the genetics of this species to identify critical controlling genes determining C. variipennis vector ability for the bluetongue viruses. The genetic basis of the susceptibility of C. variipennis to infection with bluetongue virus has been determined to be controlled by a single major controlling gene. Methods using molecular biology have been used to try to understand the mechanism of action of this gene. Understanding the mechanisms by which this gene functions will allow better understanding of the differences between vector populations and how these differences contribute to the epidemiology of bluetongue disease in North America. This will be the basis for developing new disease control strategies and for reducing the economic impact of bluetongue and other arthropod-borne animal pathogens on U.S. agriculture.