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PeerJ. 2013 Nov 12;1:e207. doi: 10.7717/peerj.207. eCollection 2013.

An integrated pipeline for next generation sequencing and annotation of the complete mitochondrial genome of the giant intestinal fluke, Fasciolopsis buski (Lankester, 1857) Looss, 1899.

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Bioinformatics Centre, North-Eastern Hill University , Shillong, Meghalaya , India.


Helminths include both parasitic nematodes (roundworms) and platyhelminths (trematode and cestode flatworms) that are abundant, and are of clinical importance. The genetic characterization of parasitic flatworms using advanced molecular tools is central to the diagnosis and control of infections. Although the nuclear genome houses suitable genetic markers (e.g., in ribosomal (r) DNA) for species identification and molecular characterization, the mitochondrial (mt) genome consistently provides a rich source of novel markers for informative systematics and epidemiological studies. In the last decade, there have been some important advances in mtDNA genomics of helminths, especially lung flukes, liver flukes and intestinal flukes. Fasciolopsis buski, often called the giant intestinal fluke, is one of the largest digenean trematodes infecting humans and found primarily in Asia, in particular the Indian subcontinent. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies now provide opportunities for high throughput sequencing, assembly and annotation within a short span of time. Herein, we describe a high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics pipeline for mt genomics for F. buski that emphasizes the utility of short read NGS platforms such as Ion Torrent and Illumina in successfully sequencing and assembling the mt genome using innovative approaches for PCR primer design as well as assembly. We took advantage of our NGS whole genome sequence data (unpublished so far) for F. buski and its comparison with available data for the Fasciola hepatica mtDNA as the reference genome for design of precise and specific primers for amplification of mt genome sequences from F. buski. A long-range PCR was carried out to create an NGS library enriched in mt DNA sequences. Two different NGS platforms were employed for complete sequencing, assembly and annotation of the F. buski mt genome. The complete mt genome sequences of the intestinal fluke comprise 14,118 bp and is thus the shortest trematode mitochondrial genome sequenced to date. The noncoding control regions are separated into two parts by the tRNA-Gly gene and don't contain either tandem repeats or secondary structures, which are typical for trematode control regions. The gene content and arrangement are identical to that of F. hepatica. The F. buski mtDNA genome has a close resemblance with F. hepatica and has a similar gene order tallying with that of other trematodes. The mtDNA for the intestinal fluke is reported herein for the first time by our group that would help investigate Fasciolidae taxonomy and systematics with the aid of mtDNA NGS data. More so, it would serve as a resource for comparative mitochondrial genomics and systematic studies of trematode parasites.


Contigs; Fasciolopsis buski; Mitochondria; Next generation sequencing

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