· The Taenia solium genome project is a whole genome sequencing project of the parasite Taenia solium, the causal agent of human and porcine cysticercosis; a disease that is still a public health problem of relevance in Mexico. It is being carried out by a consortium of scientists belonging to diverse institutions of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM, the National Autonomous University of Mexico).
· This parasite and the disease it causes have been studied by multiple groups in Mexico during at least three decades. A considerable number of contributions on the understanding of the parasite and disease have been made by Mexican scientists.
· Carrying out this genome project will organize a human team able to approach this and other projects in genomic sciences, by networking current capabilities in several research centers at UNAM. The project requires a considerable capability on DNA sequencing and a parallel capability on bioinformatics.
· The project contributes to the knowledge of an organism with an interesting phylogenetic position for studies of comparative genomics, and the complete sequence of the T. solium genome will provide us with a much better understanding of the parasite’s physiology, life cycle and metabolism. Moreover, the knowledge of the complete enzymatic repertoire will help us identify essential genes that could become good candidates for diagnosis, drug targeting and vaccination.
· The consortium networks research groups with diverse disciplinary backgrounds such as immunology, molecular biology, cell biology, and bioinformatics, among others. Its General Coordinator is Dr. Juan Pedro Laclette, of the Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas (Institute of Biomedical Research). The consortium is aided and annually evaluated by an Advisory Board formed by respected members of the international scientific community (see members of the AdBoard).