1 Sanger Institute, UK
DiscussionIt’s more than a decade after the first draft genomes of Schistosomes were published. Although highly fragmented and incomplete, these gene catalogues provided a much-needed boost to the schistosomiasis research field. But their inaccuracies hampered data mining and large scale investigations of gene function and genome variation. Our group, along with several others, has continued to sequence and improve the schistosome reference genomes. Transformed by longer range sequencing and scaffolding approaches, we are getting close to the goal of full chromosomal sequences for all major schistosome species. Focussing on two major areas of our work, I will present an update on the S. mansoni reference genome and the preliminary stages of a broad exploration of the genomes of Schistosomatidae. In S. mansoni, both the Z and W chromosomes are resolved enabling the gene content of sex-specific regions to be explored. Across the genus, comparisons of high-contiguity genome assemblies are enabling us to define a “core schistosome” as well as explore differences that in some cases may represent adaptive changes in the evolution of different schistosome lineages.