Division Announcements

Molecular determinant of fluke’s switch from intestinal to hepatic habitat in humans

Dr. Makedonka Mitreva and colleagues find novel insights into the genome evolution of the intestinal and liver flukes of Fasciolidae; flukes that cause zoonotic food–borne infections. This comparative genomic analysis reveals the molecular evolutionary patterns associated with intermediate host switch and shift from intestinal to hepatic habitats.

“The study indicates that climatic and ecological changes may have contributed to the adaptive radiation of these species, which were accompanied by increased transposable element activity, lineage-specific gene family expansions, and differential rates of molecular evolution among different gene families” says Dr. Mitreva.

The genomic resources generated through this work will support ongoing efforts to develop novel interventions and diagnosis, and underpin epidemiologic investigation of new disease outbreaks, virulence and drug resistance.

The study is a collaboration between Washington University School of Medicine (USA), University of Texas Medical Branch (USA), George Washington University (USA), James Cook University (Australia), Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (Vietnam) and Universidad de la República (Uruguay).

Choi YJ, Fontenla S, Fischer PU, Le TH, Costábile A, Blair D, Brindley PJ, Tort JF, Cabada MM, Mitreva M. Adaptive radiation of the flukes of the family Fasciolidae inferred from genome-wide comparisons of key species. Mol Biol Evol. 2019 Sep 10. PubMed PMID: 31501870.