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Journal of Parasitology Research
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 849132, 11 pages
Review Article

New Frontiers in Schistosoma Genomics and Transcriptomics

1Genomics and Computational Biology Group, Centro de Pesquisas René Rachou (CPqRR), Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia em Doenças Tropicais, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ), 30190-002 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
2Centro de Excelência em Bioinformática (CEBio), Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ), 30190-110 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
3Faculdade Infórium de Tecnologia, 30130-180 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

Received 10 August 2012; Accepted 16 October 2012

Academic Editor: Sergio Costa Oliveira

Copyright © 2012 Laila A. Nahum et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Schistosomes are digenean blood flukes of aves and mammals comprising 23 species. Some species are causative agents of human schistosomiasis, the second major neglected disease affecting over 230 million people worldwide. Modern technologies including the sequencing and characterization of nucleic acids and proteins have allowed large-scale analyses of parasites and hosts, opening new frontiers in biological research with potential biomedical and biotechnological applications. Nuclear genomes of the three most socioeconomically important species (S. haematobium, S. japonicum, and S. mansoni) have been sequenced and are under intense investigation. Mitochondrial genomes of six Schistosoma species have also been completely sequenced and analysed from an evolutionary perspective. Furthermore, DNA barcoding of mitochondrial sequences is used for biodiversity assessment of schistosomes. Despite the efforts in the characterization of Schistosoma genomes and transcriptomes, many questions regarding the biology and evolution of this important taxon remain unanswered. This paper aims to discuss some advances in the schistosome research with emphasis on genomics and transcriptomics. It also aims to discuss the main challenges of the current research and to point out some future directions in schistosome studies.