NEW YORK, Feb. 23 (GenomeWeb News) - The Institute for Genomic Research and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have learned that a parasitic amoeba that causes severe diarrheal disease in developing countries has a combination of sensory genes and bacteria-like genes that make its biology unusual.
The two institutes will publish the results of their findings on the genome sequence of Entamoeba histolytica in the Feb. 24 issue of Nature in what they claim is the first genome-wide study of an amoeba and the first genome sequence to be published from this amoeba's class of amitochondrial human pathogens.
The duo of institutes expect the genome sequence to help in the development of new vaccines as well as diagnostic tests that can distinguish the amoeba's most deadly strains. The two say E. histolytica, which causes a disease called amebiasis, infects an estimated 50 million people and causes as many as 100,000 deaths a year -- second only to malaria as a cause of morbidity and mortality from a protist.
The research that led to the discovery was funded by grants from Wellcome Trust and the National Institutes of Health.