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Sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus). © INRA, CHAUBET Bernard

Tick-fighting tactics

GenIric: sequencing the Ixodes ricinus genome

Efforts are underway to sequence the genome of Ixodes ricinus, a tick species that vectors human and animal pathogens.

Updated on 10/14/2016
Published on 02/01/2016

Ixodes ricinus is a tick species found throughout Europe that vectors numerous pathogens, including viruses, protists, and bacteria (e.g., the bacterium responsible for Lyme disease).  A better understanding of this tick’s genome will help highlight factors involved in pathogen transmission and thus improve control efforts. It will also clarify how to best target the vector itself (e.g., via vaccines or narrow-spectrum pesticides). Furthermore, characterizing the tick’s genome and genetic variability should reveal the underlying basis for certain traits, such as the ability to host and transmit specific pathogens. More generally, the information acquired will reveal how selection has genetically shaped Ixodes ricinus over evolutionary time.

INRA’s Joint Research Unit for Biology, Epidemiology, and Risk Analysis (BIOEPAR) is leading the way in these efforts with the GenIric project. The group is coordinating a network of researchers focused on the topic; will take part in the analyses (e.g., annotation and characterization of genomic diversity); and will ensure the project’s findings are broadly diffused.

Collaborators: GenIric was made possible by a Large-Scale Sequencing Project grant (i.e., French Stimulus Initiative funding) from France Génomique. Genoscope (the French National Sequencing Center in Évry) will sequence and assemble the genome; other collaborators, notably those in Rennes (IRISA, GenOuest), will help with the bioinformatics. Then, several research groups throughout Europe will help annotate genes of interest and characterize their functionality.

Scientific contact(s):

Associated Division(s):
Animal Health
Associated Centre(s):