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Genomic linkage map of the human blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni

Charles D Criscione1*, Claudia LL Valentim23, Hirohisa Hirai4, Philip T LoVerde2 and Timothy JC Anderson3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA

2 Departments of Biochemistry and Pathology, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas 78229, USA

3 Department of Genetics, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, Texas, 78245, USA

4 Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Inuyama, Aichi 484-8506, Japan

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Genome Biology 2009, 10:R71  doi:10.1186/gb-2009-10-6-r71

Published: 30 June 2009

Abstract

Background

Schistosoma mansoni is a blood fluke that infects approximately 90 million people. The complete life cycle of this parasite can be maintained in the laboratory, making this one of the few experimentally tractable human helminth infections, and a rich literature reveals heritable variation in important biomedical traits such as virulence, host-specificity, transmission and drug resistance. However, there is a current lack of tools needed to study S. mansoni's molecular, quantitative, and population genetics. Our goal was to construct a genetic linkage map for S. mansoni, and thus provide a new resource that will help stimulate research on this neglected pathogen.

Results

We genotyped grandparents, parents and 88 progeny to construct a 5.6 cM linkage map containing 243 microsatellites positioned on 203 of the largest scaffolds in the genome sequence. The map allows 70% of the estimated 300 Mb genome to be ordered on chromosomes, and highlights where scaffolds have been incorrectly assembled. The markers fall into eight main linkage groups, consistent with seven pairs of autosomes and one pair of sex chromosomes, and we were able to anchor linkage groups to chromosomes using fluorescent in situ hybridization. The genome measures 1,228.6 cM. Marker segregation reveals higher female recombination, confirms ZW inheritance patterns, and identifies recombination hotspots and regions of segregation distortion.

Conclusions

The genetic linkage map presented here is the first for S. mansoni and the first for a species in the phylum Platyhelminthes. The map provides the critical tool necessary for quantitative genetic analysis, aids genome assembly, and furnishes a framework for comparative flatworm genomics and field-based molecular epidemiological studies.