Chromosome-level genome of Schistosoma haematobium underpins genome-wide explorations of molecular variation

Andreas J. Stroehlein, Pasi K. Korhonen, V. Vern Lee, Stuart A. Ralph, Margaret Mentink-Kane, Hong You, Donald P. McManus, Louis Albert Tchuem Tchuente, J. Russell Stothard, Parwinder Kaur, Olga Dudchenko, Erez Lieberman Aiden, Bicheng Yang, Huanming Yang, Aidan M. Emery, Bonnie L. Webster, Paul J. Brindley, David Rollinson, Bill C.H. Chang, Robin B. GasserNeil D. Young

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8 Citations (Web of Science)


Urogenital schistosomiasis is caused by the blood fluke Schistosoma haematobium and is one of the most neglected tropical diseases worldwide, afflicting > 100 million people. It is characterised by granulomata, fibrosis and calcification in urogenital tissues, and can lead to increased susceptibility to HIV/AIDS and squamous cell carcinoma of the bladder. To complement available treatment programs and break the transmission of disease, sound knowledge and understanding of the biology and ecology of S. haematobium is required. Hybridisation/introgression events and molecular variation among members of the S. haematobium- group might effect important biological and/or disease traits as well as the morbidity of disease and the effectiveness of control programs including mass drug administration. Here we report the first chromosome-contiguous genome for a well-defined laboratory line of this blood fluke. An exploration of this genome using transcriptomic data for all key developmental stages allowed us to refine gene models (including non-coding elements) and annotations, discover 'new' genes and transcription profiles for these stages, likely linked to development and/or pathogenesis. Molecular variation within S. haematobium among some geographical locations in Africa revealed unique genomic 'signatures' that matched species other than S. haematobium, indicating the occurrence of introgression events. The present reference genome (designated Shae.V3) and the findings from this study solidly underpin future functional genomic and molecular investigations of S. haematobium and accelerate systematic, large-scale population genomics investigations, with a focus on improved and sustained control of urogenital schistosomiasis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1010288
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

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