Biotech Updates

Blood Parasite's Genome Decoded

January 20, 2012

The genetic code of the blood parasite Schistosoma haematobium has finally been decoded by an international research team led by Dr. Neil Young and Prof. Robin Gasser from the University of Melbourne. The blood parasite causes schistomiasis, which is one of the most socioeconomically devastating diseases according to the Wold Health Organization. The disease is also linked to bladder cancer, and AIDS. Through the sequenced nuclear genome of the parasite, the scientists have already predicted some high priority drug targets, which is very important because as of this date, there is only on drug available to treat Schistomiasis.

"This genome was the missing piece of a puzzle in schistosomiasis research. By revealing the genetic blueprint of S. haematobium, we now have a biological road map of the three major parasite species responsible for human schistosomiasis globally. Most importantly, the genome of S. haematobium will offer insights into how the intimate relationship between a parasite and its human host can induce malignant bladder cancer," Dr. Young said.