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ARS Home » Plains Area » Kerrville, Texas » Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory » Veterinary Pest Genetics Research Unit » Research » Research Project #443425

Research Project: Using Genomics to Mitigate the Threat of the Invasive Asian Longhorned Tick, Haemaphysalis Longicornis, in the United States

Location: Veterinary Pest Genetics Research Unit

Project Number: 3094-22320-001-014-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Dec 1, 2022
End Date: Jun 30, 2024

The goal of this project is to address the threat posed to the U.S. livestock industry by first sequencing and annotating a high-quality genome from field-caught ticks prior to informatically identifying suitable candidate proteins for potential reverse-vaccinology. Recombinant antigens will be synthesized and screened for effect via artificial feeding apparatus using sera from vaccinated cattle.

Task 1: Extract genomic DNA from H. longicornis ticks and egg masses provided by the Project Director in a quality and length suitable for PacBio sequencing. Task 2: Ensure the genome sequencing (using the DNA extracted above and the PacBio Sequel II instrumentation available in the USDA-ARS Genomics and Bioinformatics Unit) is successfully completed as specified (at least six SMRT cells of data output). Task 3: Synthesize at least five vaccine candidates using proteins identified in this study. Task 4: Assay efficacy of the vaccines produced in Task 3 via stall trials whereby H. longicornis ticks are fed on vaccinated cattle.