We use large-scale genome and transcriptome sequencing along with phenotyping to understand the biology of important parasites. We start with the production and analysis of high quality reference genomes. The malaria parasite P. falciparum is the gold standard for this – we have curated its genome for more than a decade – but the approach is being extended to other more neglected parasites including schistosomes and whipworms.
We then use comparisons between genomes, performed over different evolutionary scales, to address questions about parasite biology. We use draft genomes across diverse clades to survey the broad differences between parasites and finer grained comparisons between more closely related species to study the evolution of genes associated with specific clades of parasites or parasite traits.
For two exemplar helminth species – Schistosoma mansoni and Trichuris muris, representing flatworms and nematodes, we use full infection lifecycles established at the Institute to facilitate phenotyping and in-depth functional genomics studies, from which genes or proteins can be selected for detailed investigation.