Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Friday, Dec 08, 2023

Hong Kong researchers find ‘most complete’ genome profile for American cockroaches

Hong Kong researchers find ‘most complete’ genome profile for American cockroaches

Researchers also find seven new allergens in American cockroaches – insect is second most common trigger of allergic diseases in city.

University researchers in Hong Kong say they have discovered the world’s most comprehensive genome profile for American cockroaches and that it may help in developing a more precise way of detecting and treating allergies to the insects.

Using the genome profile, researchers from Chinese University said they were also able to find seven new allergens in the cockroaches.

Professor Stephen Tsui Kwok-wing of the university’s School of Biomedical Sciences said while others had studied the genome profile of American cockroaches, his team was able to find the most comprehensive method so far.

Researchers from Chinese University says their findings will help treat cockroach allergies.

“Having the most complete genome profile is useful for discovering allergens,” he said, referring to substances in animals or food that could cause allergic reactions. “We can also study how to prevent cockroaches, such as producing pesticide, or how to control them.”

Tsui said allergens from cockroaches mostly originated from their excrement or secretion from their decayed bodies. He added that their genome profiles were made available for scientists around the world, which they could make use of in their research.

The research, which began in 2018, was led by Tsui and Professor Anchalee Tungtrongchitr, a cockroach allergy expert from Thailand’s Mahidol University. It focused on American cockroaches, one of the most common types in Hong Kong. Their findings were published in the scientific journal Allergy last September.

According to researchers, one-third of the child population in the city has been diagnosed with airway allergies, with more than 80 per cent and 30 per cent being sensitive to dust mites and cockroaches, respectively. Cockroaches are the second most common trigger of allergic diseases in the city. An allergy to cockroaches is mostly found in children as it can disappear during adulthood.

Professor Leung Ting-fan of Chinese University’s department of paediatrics said a cockroach allergy could cause diseases such as asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema, adding the limited number of allergens previously known in the insects had made advancements in diagnosis and treatment sluggish over the past two decades.

“After years of effort, there were only 13 known American cockroach allergens. But just within one project, we found seven more. It’s a big increase,” he said. “More allergens means in the future, when we are designing diagnostic tests, they will be more comprehensive.”

Researchers from Chinese University say they were also able to find seven new allergens in the cockroaches.

Allergies are often diagnosed using a skin prick test, which involves gently piercing a patient’s arm with a small amount of the allergen. Swelling usually appears if the person has an allergic reaction.

But Leung said the test was not precise enough because it did not always reveal which specific allergens induced a reaction for the patient.

“A precise method would be knowing how many allergens the animal or food has and using big data to identify the allergic reaction related to the certain allergen and trigger,” he said. “After testing, we will know which allergens to target during treatments.”

He added the discovery of seven new allergens in American cockroaches would further help the development of a more precise method and a standardised cockroach allergen extract for treatments.

The research also found that due to evolution, a certain protein had become more abundant in American cockroaches, which had increased their resistance to pesticides, and that cockroaches and termites carried highly identical allergens, meaning that patients who were only sensitive to cockroaches could also develop reactions after coming into contact with termites.

Tsui said with government funding of HK$7 million (US$892,200), his team had been working on creating a machine with Shenzhen University to uncover what allergens patients had reactions to by using blood samples. He added the machine was being designed to diagnose a dust mite allergy, the most common type in the city, in its first phase in two years, followed by the cockroach allergy.

Tsui said children living in subdivided flats often suffered from a cockroach allergy.

“In subdivided flats … basically everything is packed in the same space where they cook, eat and sleep. When you eat in the bedroom, the cockroaches will be everywhere,” he said.

He urged people to cover their food, keep their place dry and avoid eating in the bedroom to prevent cockroaches in their homes.


Related Articles

Hong Kong News
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?