April 15, 2015


 Toxocara canis genome mapped

Posted April 1, 2015

An international team of researchers has sequenced the genome of dog-associated roundworms. 

The team’s scientific article, “Genetic blueprint of the zoonotic pathogen Toxocara canis,” was published online in February in Nature Communications. The researchers are from institutions in six countries: Australia, China, Denmark, Germany, Singapore, and the United States. 

The parasitic nematode causes toxocariasis in humans, mostly in impoverished areas, including in the U.S. The authors said in their article that they produced a draft genome and transcriptome that could support future research. 

Humans can be infected by the T canis or T cati roundworm species through eggs shed in feces of infected dogs or cats, respectively, as well as through undercooked meat that contains larvae, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infection is associated with organ damage, eye disease, and allergic disorders. 

Toxocariasis is among the parasitic diseases CDC officials consider to be neglected and have targeted for public health action.