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Parasitol Int. 2004 Jun;53(2):183-92.

Schistosoma mansoni genome project: an update.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA.


A schistosome genome project was initiated by the World Health Organization in 1994 with the notion that the best prospects for identifying new targets for drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic development lie in schistosome gene discovery, development of chromosome maps, whole genome sequencing and genome analysis. Schistosoma mansoni has a haploid genome of 270 Mb contained on 8 pairs of chromosomes. It is estimated that the S. mansoni genome contains between 15000 and 25000 genes. There are approximately 16689 ESTs obtained from diverse libraries representing different developmental stages of S. mansoni, deposited in the NCBI EST database. More than half of the deposited sequences correspond to genes of unknown function. Approximately 40-50% of the sequences form unique clusters, suggesting that approximately 20-25% of the total schistosome genes have been discovered. Efforts to develop low resolution chromosome maps are in progress. There is a genome sequencing program underway that will provide 3X sequence coverage of the S. mansoni genome that will result in approximately 95% gene discovery. The genomics era has provided the resources to usher in the era of functional genomics that will involve microarrays to focus on specific metabolic pathways, proteomics to identify relevant proteins and protein-protein interactions to understand critical parasite pathways. Functional genomics is expected to accelerate the development of control and treatment strategies for schistosomiasis.

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