The genomics of human lice: From the genome to the potential for future control strategies

B. R. Pittendrigh, B. P. Olds, K. S. Yoon, S. H. Lee, W. Sun, J. M. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Human lice represent a unique ectoparasitic relationship with humans. Head lice, which do not vector human diseases, exist in many human populations where they represent a considerable nuisance. However, body lice tend to appear when social economic conditions that allow opportunities for significantly reduced hygiene in individuals or populations and they vector human bacterial diseases. There are limited control options for human lice coupled with the emergence of pesticide resistance in insect populations. A better understanding of insect genomes has been proposed as a starting point for the development of novel insect control strategies. In this review, we summarize the findings of the body louse genome project, subsequent work, and its impact on new insights into human lice with the potential for long-term novel pest control strategies. RNAi is also discussed, including the potential for resistance using this strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-176
Number of pages5
JournalPesticide Biochemistry and Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Human body louse
  • Human head louse
  • Pediculus humanus capitis
  • Pediculus humanus humanus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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