There were a number of papers published today in Nature on the genome and some preliminary analysis of the pathogenic blood flukes Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosoma japonicum, these parasites are the causative agents of a variety of serious 'neglected' tropical endemic diseases - protypical of these is bilharzia (also known as snail fever, schistosomiasis or bilharziosis). Current drug treatment options are limited to Praziquantel and Oxamniquine. These blood flukes have that classic 'dual host' life-cycle initially infecting fresh water snails and then subsequently mammals - I remember seeing a diagram of this cycle in one of my first science books when I was about seven years old, and wondered how amazing and unbelievable that process was.
These genomes offer an important opportunity to identify potential sites of new therapeutic intervention. We at the EMBL-EBI contributed to the S. mansoni publication by performing a first pass 'therapeutic agent' and 'medicinal chemistry' annotation of the genome; uniquely this informatics analysis was performed essentially in 'real time' and contemporaneously with the final assembly of the complete gene set.
We will map out the general genome annotation strategy that we performed in a few future blog posts in the next week or so. More informally and extensively than could be done in the original publication.
%J Nature %V 460 %P 352-358 %D 16 July 2009 %O doi:10.1038/nature08160 %T The genome of the blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni %A Matthew Berriman %A B.J. Haas %A P.T. LoVerde %A R.A. Wilson %A G.P. Dillon %A G.C. Cerqueira %A S.T. Mashiyama %A B. Al-Lazikani %A L.F. Andrade %A P.D. Ashton %A M.A. Aslett %A D.C. Bartholomeu %A G. Blandin %A C.R. Caffrey %A A. Coghlan %A R. Coulson %A T.A. Day %A A. Delcher %A R. DeMarco %A A. Djikeng %A T. Eyre %A J.A. Gamble %A E. Ghedin %A Y. Gu %A C. Hertz-Fowler %A H. Hirai %A Y. Hirai %A R. Houston %A A. Ivens %A D.A. Johnston %A D. Lacerda %A C.D. Macedo %A P. McVeigh %A Z. Ning %A G. Oliveira %A J.P. Overington %A J. Parkhill %A M. Pertea %A R.J. Pierce %A A.V. Protasio %A M.A. Quail %A M.-A. Rajandream %A J. Rogers %A M. Sajid %A S.L. Salzberg %A M. Stanke %A A.R. Tivey %A O. White %A D.L. Williams %A J. Wortman %A W. Wu %A M. Zamania %A A. Zerlotini %A C.M. Fraser-Liggett %A B.G. Barrell %A N.M. El-Sayed