A systematically improved high quality genome and transcriptome of the human blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni

Anna V. Protasio, Isheng J. Tsai, Anne Babbage, Sarah Nichol, Martin Hunt, Martin A. Aslett, Nishadi de Silva, Giles S. Velarde, Timothy JC Anderson, Richard C. Clark, Claire Davidson, Gary P. Dillon, Nancy E. Holroyd, Philip T. LoVerde, Christine Lloyd, Jacquelline McQuillan, Guilherme Oliveira, Thomas D. Otto, Sophia J. Parker-Manuel, Michael A. QuailR. Alan Wilson, Adhemar Zerlotini, David W. Dunne, Matthew Berriman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

334 Scopus citations


Schistosomiasis is one of the most prevalent parasitic diseases, affecting millions of people in developing countries. Amongst the human-infective species, Schistosoma mansoni is also the most commonly used in the laboratory and here we present the systematic improvement of its draft genome. We used Sanger capillary and deep-coverage Illumina sequencing from clonal worms to upgrade the highly fragmented draft 380 Mb genome to one with only 885 scaffolds and more than 81% of the bases organised into chromosomes. We have also used transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) from four time points in the parasite's life cycle to refine gene predictions and profile their expression. More than 45% of predicted genes have been extensively modified and the total number has been reduced from 11,807 to 10,852. Using the new version of the genome, we identified trans-splicing events occurring in at least 11% of genes and identified clear cases where it is used to resolve polycistronic transcripts. We have produced a high-resolution map of temporal changes in expression for 9,535 genes, covering an unprecedented dynamic range for this organism. All of these data have been consolidated into a searchable format within the GeneDB (www.genedb.org) and SchistoDB (www.schistodb.net) databases. With further transcriptional profiling and genome sequencing increasingly accessible, the upgraded genome will form a fundamental dataset to underpin further advances in schistosome research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1455
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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