Guinea worm eradication genomics

I was involved in attempts to provide genetic evidence to support the Guinea worm eradication program. I was initially asked whether we could show genetically that the worms then appearing in dog infections in Chad were the same - Dracunculus medinensis - as those causing human cases. This sounded easy, but the project was surprisingly painful, particularly as the worm tissue samples were frequently very heavily contaminated with bacterial growth and/or host material. We did manage to show that all of the animal infections were from the same population as the human infections, but our plans to get a more detailed understanding of the epidemiology of the infection from genomic data haven’t really come to fruition. Luckily, other molecular work by Liz Thiele and others that I have been involved in have started to produce programmatically useful insights.

James Cotton
James Cotton
Senior Staff Scientist

My research interests are in the genomics, and particularly population genomics of parasites, particularly those that cause neglected tropical diseases