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Scientists Sequence Genome of Elephantiasis Worm

Reveals possible targets for drug and vaccine development

FRIDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have sequenced the genome of the mosquito-borne parasitic worm Brugia malayi, which causes elephantiasis, revealing possible targets for drug and vaccine development, according to a report in the Sept. 21 issue of Science.

Elodie Ghedin, Ph.D., from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues sequenced the approximately 90 megabase genome of Brugia malayi.

The genome contains between 14,500-17,800 protein-coding genes, the researchers found, fewer than the model free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Analysis of the predicted proteome of B. malayi showed that about 20 percent of the proteins were specific to the nematode and also identified a number of processes that could be exploited in drug and vaccine development.

"The ability to carry out large-scale comparative genomics within Nematoda will be key in defining molecules and pathways unique to nematode development and parasitism that can serve as the targets for the next generation of anti-nematode drugs and vaccines," Ghedin and colleagues conclude.

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