We are in the midst of a transformation in the study of eukaryotic parasites, a transformation sparked by the vast amounts of genome sequence data becoming available for many of the species in this diverse group. In this review, we summarize the current state of parasite genomics, provide details concerning the available drug andvaccine therapies for the diseases caused by these parasites, and describe the roles comparative genomics is playing in the design of new drugs and vaccines against them. These roles include the identification of various metabolic pathways or proteins that might serve as therapeutic targets by virtue of their presence in the parasite but absence in humans; elucidation of the causes of drug resistance and antibiotic sensitivity; identification of genes expressed in a stage-specific fashion; and detection of potential antigens for vaccine development. The future is bright for comparative genomic analysis of parasites, and the development of several public-private partnerships that foster collaborations among scientists in academia, big pharmaceutical companies, and the public sector provide new hope for the development of the next generation of antiparasitic therapeutics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)