Plant-parasitic nematodes are important and cosmopolitan pathogens of crops. Here, we describe the generation and analysis of 1928 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) of a splice-leader 1 (SL1) library from mixed life stages of the root-lesion nematode Pratylenchus penetrans. The ESTs were grouped into 420 clusters and classified by function using the Gene Ontology (GO) hierarchy and the Kyoto KEGG database. Approximately 80% of all translated clusters show homology to Caenorhabditis elegans proteins, and 37% of the C. elegans gene homologs had confirmed phenotypes as assessed by RNA interference tests. Use of an SL1-PCR approach, while ensuring the cloning of the 5' ends of mRNAs, has demonstrated bias toward short transcripts. Putative nematode-specific and Pratylenchus -specific genes were identified, and their implications for nematode control strategies are discussed.