The project entitled "The Flatworm
Functional Genomics Initiative (Fugi)" will develop gamechanging research tools for the study and manipulation of parasitic flatworm
species responsible for the devastating diseases echinococcosis (hydatid disease) and schistosomiasis (bilharzia), and is set to propel flatworm
research into the 21st century.
As McConnell later wrote: "It was while we were running our first experiment, that Thompson and I wondered aloud, feeling rather foolish as we did so, what would happen if we conditioned a flatworm
, then cut it in two and let both halves regenerate?
Bilharzias, also known as Schistosomiasis, or snail fever, is a primarily tropical parasitic disease caused by the larvae of one or more of five types of flatworms
or blood flukes known as schistosomes.
Frogs and beetles, earwigs and freshwater shrimps, flatworms
and ladybirds all fell to our explorers' keen eyes.
The newly identified chemical compounds (known as oxadiazoles) can inhibit an enzyme (thioredoxin glutathione reductase [TGR]) vital to survival to Schistosoma, the group of parasitic flatworms
that cause the disease.
The process has been used to plan for an experiment to determine the water content of recently discovered species of flatworms
that apparently go through anhydrobiosis to survive desiccation.
Schistosomiasis is a parasitic infection caused by digenetic blood trematodes, or flatworms
, of the genus Schistosoma.
Separate chapters characterize the life history, host range, and transmission of tapeworms, roundworms, flukes, and flatworms
along with the diagnosis, epidemiology, morbidity, and treatment of food- borne trematodiasis, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, and trichinosis.
And while it may be possible to detach a cell or a group of cells at an early stage to form two (or more) distinct organisms, such a procedure fails to show that before detachment the cells of the embryo only constitute an incidental mass: as a flatworm
is a unitary individual before dividing into two whole flatworms
, so, too, is the embryo.
Researchers have identified a gene in planaria--freshwater flatworms
renowned for their regenerative abilities--that is key for stem cell maintenance.
Five years ago, marine biologist Raphael Ritson-Williams was collecting flatworms
in the waters around the Pacific island of Guam, when he found a new species.
Dr Ian Sutherland, of CSIRO Livestock Industries in Rockhampton, Queensland, told the conference that the genetic complexity of livestock parasites like nematodes, flatworms
and ticks has frustrated efforts to develop safer, environmentally sustainable control measures.