The genome of tapeworm has been mapped for the first time ever by scientists led by Matthew Berriman of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge.
The scientists have also identified drug targets in the genome on which existing drugs can be used to treat infections caused by tapeworms. Besides finding targets for drugs, the study also found why existing treatments were not working.
"These genome sequences are helping us to immediately identify new targets for much-needed drug treatment. In addition, exploring the parasites' full DNA sequences is driving our understanding of its complex biology, helping the research community to focus on the most effective drug candidates," said lead researcher Dr Berman.
The researchers sequenced the genomes of four species of tapeworms in order to understand the genetics and biology of this parasite, which causes diseases like echinococcosis and cysticercosis.