Schistosomiasis is a major public health problem in Africa, South America, and Asia, with an estimated 75 million people at risk of infection and 2.4 million individuals infected in China alone. The platyhelminth schistosomes are the causative agent, with Schistosoma japonicum endemic in Asia and China and S. mansoni in Africa and South America. In the September 14 Nature Genetics, two groups report the transcriptome analysis of the species native to their countries: Sergio Verjovski-Almeida and colleagues at the University of San Paolo on S. mansoni and Wei Hu and colleagues of the Chinese National Human Genome Center on S. japonicum. Both teams report the identification of both novel genes and genes not previously reported in schistosomes, as well as the identification of the molecular mechanisms for host-dependent maturation, immune evasion, development, signaling, and sexual dimorphism. The analyses also identify potential vaccine candidates and drug targets.

Hu et...

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