The draft genome of Ascaris suum, a parasitic roundworm of pig, has been sequenced by an international team of researchers. This effort has paved the way for the development of new and urgently needed interventions against ascariasis and other nematodiases.
Ascaris worms are soil-transmitted helminths causing ascariasis in human and animals.
In this collaborative study led by the University of Melbourne and BGI, the researchers sequenced the A. suum genome at approximately 80-fold coverage and generated approximately 273 million base genome sequence for A. suum.
"Compare to the other metazoan genomes reported to date, we found this genome has few repetitive sequences, only about 4.4percent of the total assembly," said Shiping Liu, the co-leading author of the study and Senior Bioinformatician of Comparative Genomics Group at BGI.
"We later found out this phenomenon was probably caused by the chromatin diminution,"he added.
"We also identified a number of potential drug targets. Notably, in the A. suum gene set, we found a homologue (acr-23) of the C. elegans monepantel receptor, suggesting that this drug may kill A. suum.
"By sequencing A. suum genome, we identified abundant key information to better understand the molecular biology of A. suum and the exquisite complexities of the host-parasite interactions on an immunobiological level. We believe our work will pave the way for the future Parasitic Diseases Research," said Liu.
The study was published online in the international journal Nature.