Genome of two schistosomiasis

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Genome of two schistosomiasis
Genome of two schistosomiasis

Genome of two schistosomiasis pathogens deciphered

Chinese and Brazilian scientists have deciphered the genome of two Schistosoma species and also analyzed the function of most of the genes identified. The researchers led by Ze-Guang Han from the Chinese National Human Genome Center in Shanghai sequenced over 13,000 of the approximately 15,000 genes in Schistosoma japonicum, which causes schistosomiasis in China and other Asian countries. 35 percent of these showed no similarity to previously known genes, and 75 percent are thus described for Schistosoma for the first time [1].

Sergio Verjovski-Almeida and his colleagues at the University of São Paulo deciphered and analyzed 92 percent of the approximately 14,000 genes of Schistosoma mansoni, which is native to Africa, the Caribbean and South America [2].

Schistosomes are flukes that live in inland waters, and their larvae directly penetrate the skin of their human host. Children in developing countries who swim or play in the water, as well as fishermen or workers on irrigation systems are particularly often infected. The infection exacerbates the effects of malnutrition and anemia; long-term damage includes liver fibrosis, bladder cancer and kidney failure. There is no effective vaccine protection.

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