Studying Culicoides vectors of BTV in the post-genomic era: Resources, bottlenecks to progress and future directions
Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) are a major vector group responsible for the biological transmission of a wide variety of globally significant arboviruses, including bluetongue virus (BTV). In this review we examine current biological resources for the study of this genus, with an emphasis on detailing the history of extant colonies and cell lines derived from C. sonorensis, the major vector of BTV in the USA. We then discuss the rapidly developing area of genomic and transcriptomic analyses of biological processes in vectors and introduce the newly formed Culicoides Genomics and Transcriptomics Alliance. Preliminary results from these fields are detailed and finally likely areas of future research are discussed from an entomological perspective describing limitations in our understanding of Culicoides biology that may impede progress in these areas.