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Genome Biol. 2002 Jul 25;3(8):RESEARCH0041. Epub 2002 Jul 25.

Identification of Schistosoma mansoni gender-associated gene transcripts by cDNA microarray profiling.

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Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1QP, UK.



Parasitic helminths of the genus Schistosoma mate, achieve sexual maturity and produce eggs in the bloodstream of their definitive hosts, and the most important pathological consequences of the infection are associated with this process. We have used cDNA microarray technology to initiate genome-wide gene-expression studies of sex and sexual development in mature Schistosoma mansoni parasites.


An S. mansoni-specific cDNA microarray was fabricated using 576 expressed sequence tags selected from three cDNA libraries and originating from two different parasite developmental stages. Five independent cDNA microarray hybridizations were analyzed using stringent filtering criteria and careful quality control, leading to the identification of 12 new female-associated and 4 new male-associated gene transcripts in the mature adult schistosome. Statistical analysis of variation demonstrated high levels of agreement within a cDNA microarray (correlation coefficient 0.91; median coefficient of variation 11.1%) and between cDNA microarrays (correlation coefficient 0.90; median coefficient of variation 14.4%). RT-PCR analysis confirmed the cDNA microarray results, thereby supporting the reliability of the system.


Our study expands the list of S. mansoni gender-associated gene transcripts from all previous studies by a factor of two. Among the new associations identified, a tyrosinase ortholog was preferentially expressed in the adult female, and a dynein light-chain ortholog was highly induced in the adult male. cDNA microarrays offer the potential for exponential leaps in the understanding of parasite biology and this study shows how molecules involved in sexual biology can be rapidly identified.

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