Schistosoma mansoni

Blood flukes of the genus Schistosoma (Platyhelminthes, Trematoda, Digenea) are responsible for the chronic debilitating disease schistosomiasis / bilharzia, widely considered to be second only to malaria as a global health problem and an incalculable drain on the economic development of endemic countries.

Since 1994, the World Health Organization has supported a genome initiative for Schistosoma, the Schistosoma Genome Network, aimed at identifying new targets for drug and vaccine development, understanding the molecular basis of parasite metabolism and development and determining biological variation. That initiative developed, and continues to develop, resources and datasets that have provided a firm foundation from which large scale mapping and sequencing efforts have been launched.

Data Downloads

Schistosoma mansoni possesses 7 pairs of autosomes and one pair of sex chromosomes (female = ZW, male = ZZ). Chromosomes range in size from 18 to 73 MB and can be distinguished by size, shape and C banding. A draft genome has been produced by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in collaboration with The Institute for Genomic Research using a whole genome shotgun sequencing strategy. Approximately 3.8 million pooled reads have been produced by the two genome centres and have been assembled using the Phusion assembly algorithm. The draft genome is 363Mb and encodes at least 11,809 genes. Further work is underway on the genome.

A first draft of the S. mansoni genome has been published (PMID:19606141) and is available for browsing from GeneDB. Sequencing is continuing and further assemblies will be available from this site, prior to publication.

In collaboration with Prof. Alan Wilson (University of York), expressed sequence tags from the following life cycle stages have been produced: day 21 liver worms (mouse host), day 28 liver worms (mouse), day 28 liver worms (rat), day 7 lung stage, intramolluscan germ ball, cercariae, day 3 schistosomule.

Further characterisation of the life cycle using high-thoughput second generation sequencing (RNA-Seq) is ongoing.


  • A systematically improved high quality genome and transcriptome of the human blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni.

    Protasio AV, Tsai IJ, Babbage A, Nichol S, Hunt M, Aslett MA, De Silva N, Velarde GS, Anderson TJ, Clark RC, Davidson C, Dillon GP, Holroyd NE, LoVerde PT, Lloyd C, McQuillan J, Oliveira G, Otto TD, Parker-Manuel SJ, Quail MA, Wilson RA, Zerlotini A, Dunne DW and Berriman M

    PLoS neglected tropical diseases 2012;6;1;e1455

  • The genome of the blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni.

    Berriman M, Haas BJ, LoVerde PT, Wilson RA, Dillon GP, Cerqueira GC, Mashiyama ST, Al-Lazikani B, Andrade LF, Ashton PD, Aslett MA, Bartholomeu DC, Blandin G, Caffrey CR, Coghlan A, Coulson R, Day TA, Delcher A, DeMarco R, Djikeng A, Eyre T, Gamble JA, Ghedin E, Gu Y, Hertz-Fowler C, Hirai H, Hirai Y, Houston R, Ivens A, Johnston DA, Lacerda D, Macedo CD, McVeigh P, Ning Z, Oliveira G, Overington JP, Parkhill J, Pertea M, Pierce RJ, Protasio AV, Quail MA, Rajandream MA, Rogers J, Sajid M, Salzberg SL, Stanke M, Tivey AR, White O, Williams DL, Wortman J, Wu W, Zamanian M, Zerlotini A, Fraser-Liggett CM, Barrell BG and El-Sayed NM

    Nature 2009;460;7253;352-8

Data Use Statement

This sequencing centre plans on publishing the completed and annotated sequences in a peer-reviewed journal as soon as possible. Permission of the principal investigator should be obtained before publishing analyses of the sequence/open reading frames/genes on a chromosome or genome scale. See our data sharing policy.

Sequencing enquiries

Please address all sequencing enquiries to: