Location: Livestock Arthropod Pests ResearchTitle: Genomic approaches for veterinary pest control and eradication
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/24/2014
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Arthropod pests of veterinary importance remain a threat to the health of livestock herds in the United States (US) and contribute to global food insecurity because they impact animal agriculture productivity directly through their parasitic habits and indirectly, in specific cases, due to the disease-causing agents they can transmit, which in some instances can also affect humans. As the in-house agricultural research agency of the US Department of Agriculture, the Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) conducts basic and applied research to deliver science-based technological solutions to the problems producers have with veterinary pests like ticks and biting flies. In several cases around the world the emergence and re-emergence of problems with the control, eradication, or re-eradication of veterinary pests are driven by forces related to global change. Veterinary pests can be of high-consequence to society when they become invasive. The USDA-ARS strategic plan contemplates the prevention and control of pests and animal diseases that pose a threat to agriculture and public health. Basic and applied research efforts at several USDA-ARS laboratories aim to develop and transfer tools to the agricultural community, commercial partners, and government agencies to control or eradicate domestic and exotic diseases and pests that affect animal and human health. Some of the strategies to manage pest populations include the application of genomic approaches to identify measures that restrict cattle fever ticks to its defined quarantine zone, keep North and Central America free of the New World screwworm, and to develop sustainable control methods for the stable fly, and the horn fly. Expertise developed through the years provided the impetus to establish a veterinary pest genomics initiative at the USDA-ARS. An example is the participation of the USDA-ARS in an international consortium that sequenced the genome of the southern cattle fever tick. Similar collaborations will enable synergies among USDA-ARS labs and between these laboratories and stakeholder groups and academic research partners to develop and utilize genomic-based solutions to other veterinary pest problems, which are expected to include the acquisition of large volume data generated from genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metagenomics studies, as well as biogeographic, geospatial, and phenotypic studies. Examples of how the veterinary pest genomics initiative is helping unravel the genomes of high-consequence livestock pests will be presented. Strategies to mine genomes for, and translate research into transformative technologies that can be integrated to mitigate the economic impact of veterinary pests for sustainable agriculture will be discussed.