The impact of genomics on population genetics of parasitic diseases

Daniel N. Hupalo, Martina Bradic, Jane M. Carlton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Parasites, defined as eukaryotic microbes and parasitic worms that cause global diseases of human and veterinary importance, span many lineages in the eukaryotic Tree of Life. Historically challenging to study due to their complicated life-cycles and association with impoverished settings, their inherent complexities are now being elucidated by genome sequencing. Over the course of the last decade, projects in large sequencing centers, and increasingly frequently in individual research labs, have sequenced dozens of parasite reference genomes and field isolates from patient populations. This 'tsunami' of genomic data is answering questions about parasite genetic diversity, signatures of evolution orchestrated through anti-parasitic drug and host immune pressure, and the characteristics of populations. This brief review focuses on the state of the art of parasitic protist genomics, how the peculiar genomes of parasites are driving creative methods for their sequencing, and the impact that next-generation sequencing is having on our understanding of parasite population genomics and control of the diseases they cause.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-54
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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