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Accession IconSRP134112

Discovery of unique loci that underlie nematode responses to benzimidazoles

Organism Icon Caenorhabditis elegans
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Technology Badge IconIllumina HiSeq 2500

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The treatment of roundworm (nematode) infections in both humans and animals relies on a small number of anti-parasitic drugs. Resistance to these drugs has appeared in veterinary parasite populations and is a growing concern in human medicine. A better understanding of the genetic basis for parasite drug resistance can be used to help maintain the effectiveness of anti-parasitic drugs and to slow or to prevent the spread of drug resistance in parasite populations. This goal is hampered by the experimental intractability of nematode parasites. Here, we use non-parasitic model nematodes to systematically explore responses to the critical benzimidazole class of anti-parasitic compounds. Using a quantitative genetics approach, we discovered unique genomic intervals that control drug effects, and we identified differences in the genetic architectures of drug responses across compounds and doses. We were able to narrow a major-effect genomic region associated with albendazole resistance and to establish that candidate genes discovered in our genetic mappings are largely conserved in important human and animal parasites. This work provides new leads for understanding parasite drug resistance and contributes a powerful template that can be extended to other anti-parasitic drug classes.
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