A proposal to search for patterns of genome changes across parasites
Parasites have co-evolved along with their hosts to utilise the host machinery to complete parts of the parasite’s life cycle. Despite potentially large implications for disease biology, common denominators for gene loss and gene gain have not been studied for human and important zoonotic parasites. Given the complete sequencing and good annotation of several parasitic genomes, we posit that identification of such common motifs would now be feasible. We expect different patterns in ectoparasites versus endoparasites, and extracellular versus intracellular parasites. There might be common motifs to genetic gains and losses in the host but we suspect that they would be harder to find than the common denominators in parasites.