Filarial nematode parasites, the causative agents of elephantiasis and river blindness, undermine the livelihoods of over one hundred million people in the developing world. Recently, the Filarial Genome Project reported the draft sequence of the ~ 95 Mb genome of the human filarial parasite Brugia malayi - the first parasitic nematode genome to be sequenced. Comparative genome analysis with the prevailing model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans revealed similarities and differences in genome structure and organization that will prove useful as additional nematode genomes are completed. The Brugia genome provides the first opportunity to comprehensively compare the full gene repertoire of a free-living nematode species and one that has evolved as a human pathogen. The Brugia genome also provides an opportunity to gain insight into genetic basis for mutualism, as Brugia, like a majority of filarial species, harbors an endosybiotic bacterium (Wolbachia). The goal of this review is to provide an overview of the results of genomic analysis and how these observations provide new insights into the biology of filarial species.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases