Gene diversity and genetic variation in lung flukes (genus Paragonimus).

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2016 Jan;110(1):6-12. doi: 10.1093/trstmh/trv101.


Paragonimiasis caused by lung flukes (genus Paragonimus) is a neglected disease occurring in Asia, Africa and the Americas. The genus is species-rich, ancient and widespread. Genetic diversity is likely to be considerable, but investigation of this remains confined to a few populations of a few species. In recent years, studies of genetic diversity have moved from isoenzyme analysis to molecular phylogenetic analysis based on selected DNA sequences. The former offered better resolution of questions relating to allelic diversity and gene flow, whereas the latter is more suitable for questions relating to molecular taxonomy and phylogeny. A picture is emerging of a highly diverse taxon of parasites, with the greatest diversity found in eastern and southern Asia where ongoing speciation might be indicated by the presence of several species complexes. Diversity of lung flukes in Africa and the Americas is very poorly sampled. Functional molecules that might be of value for immunodiagnosis, or as targets for medical intervention, are of great interest. Characterisation of these from Paragonimus species has been ongoing for a number of years. However, the imminent release of genomic and transcriptomic data for several species of Paragonimus will dramatically increase the rate of discovery of such molecules, and illuminate their diversity within and between species.


Blair D, Nawa Y, Mitreva M, Doanh PN.

Institute Authors

Makedonka Mitreva, Ph.D.