Submitted to: Acarology International Congress Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2002
Publication Date: August 31, 2002
Citation: GEORGE, J.E. 2002 SEPTEMBER 8-13. CREATING TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY METHODS FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF TICKS AND TICK-BORNE DISEASES AffECTING LIVESTOCK. PRESENTATION AT THE XI INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF ACAROLOGY, MERIDA,YUCATAN, MEXICO. Technical Abstract: For over a century the primary tools for the control of ticks and tick-borne diseases of livestock have been acaricides applied to the host as whole-body treatments or pour-ons. Unfortunately, throughout cattle producing regions in the tropics and subtropics, intense selection pressure from the widespread use of acaricides has led to the evolution of resistance in ticks, especially Boophilus microplus, to the commonly used products. Larely because of the issue of acaricide resistance, the international animal health industry appears increasingly reluctant to invest in the development of new products. Consequently, the number of chemical options available for controlling ticks and other ectoparasites of livestock is dwindling and minimal investment has been made in research to develop efficious, cost-effective, safe, and environmentally friendly alternatives to acaricides. A variety of biological control approaches have been investigated, but this work has not resulted in the development of technology for tick control. Stocking with host-resistant breeds of cattle and immunization of cattle with recombinant antigen anti-tick vaccines are two alternatives to complete dependence on acaricides. While both methods have value in tick control programs, neither of them seem likely to resolve the need for new tick control methods unless they are perfected and more widely accepted. Significant progress in the creation of the novel tick control methods we need is unlikely unless the base of fundatmental knowledge of such subjects as tick-host-pathogen interactions, tick physiology, and tick genetics is enlarged. Tick genomics and proteomics is a logical research emphasis for accelerating the expansion of the knowledge base. With the size of the genome of Amblyomma americanum estimated to be 1.04 billion base pairs, about one-third the size of the human genome, the cost of sequencing such a genome may be prohibitive. Instead, a functional genomics/proteomics approach to identify genes and proteins critical to the regulation of specific physiological processes is a way to elucidate novel targets for intervention, and support the creation of practical tick control methods. The current state of genomics-based research relating to the control of ticks is briefly reviewed and possibilities for future control methods are outlined.