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The draft genome of the carcinogenic human liver fluke Clonorchis sinensis

Xiaoyun Wang12, Wenjun Chen12, Yan Huang12, Jiufeng Sun12, Jingtao Men12, Hailiang Liu3, Fang Luo3, Lei Guo3, Xiaoli Lv12, Chuanhuan Deng12, Chenhui Zhou12, Yongxiu Fan12, Xuerong Li12, Lisi Huang12, Yue Hu12, Chi Liang12, Xuchu Hu12, Jin Xu12 and Xinbing Yu12*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Parasitology, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, 74 Zhongshan 2nd Road, Guangzhou, 510080, PR China

2 Key Laboratory for Tropical Diseases Control, Sun Yat-sen University, Ministry of Education, 74 Zhongshan 2nd Road, Guangzhou, 510080, PR China

3 Guangzhou iGenomics Co., Ltd, 135 West Xingang Road, Guangzhou, 510275, PR China

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Citation and License

Genome Biology 2011, 12:R107  doi:10.1186/gb-2011-12-10-r107

Published: 24 October 2011



Clonorchis sinensis is a carcinogenic human liver fluke that is widespread in Asian countries. Increasing infection rates of this neglected tropical disease are leading to negative economic and public health consequences in affected regions. Experimental and epidemiological studies have shown a strong association between the incidence of cholangiocarcinoma and the infection rate of C. sinensis. To aid research into this organism, we have sequenced its genome.


We combined de novo sequencing with computational techniques to provide new information about the biology of this liver fluke. The assembled genome has a total size of 516 Mb with a scaffold N50 length of 42 kb. Approximately 16,000 reliable protein-coding gene models were predicted. Genes for the complete pathways for glycolysis, the Krebs cycle and fatty acid metabolism were found, but key genes involved in fatty acid biosynthesis are missing from the genome, reflecting the parasitic lifestyle of a liver fluke that receives lipids from the bile of its host. We also identified pathogenic molecules that may contribute to liver fluke-induced hepatobiliary diseases. Large proteins such as multifunctional secreted proteases and tegumental proteins were identified as potential targets for the development of drugs and vaccines.


This study provides valuable genomic information about the human liver fluke C. sinensis and adds to our knowledge on the biology of the parasite. The draft genome will serve as a platform to develop new strategies for parasite control.