Molecular Helminthology Laboratory Model Species – Taeniids

Cestodes belonging to the genus Taenia can cause neurological damage (neurocysticercosis) in humans and a variety of economically important diseases in livestock. Adult tapeworms exist relatively innocuously in the gastrointestinal tract of their hosts. Tapeworm segments (proglottids) containing eggs are released into the environment where the eggs may be ingested by livestock or wildlife. Larvae that emerge from the eggs enter host tissues and develop into cysticerci (cysts). When these cysts are eaten by a susceptible predator, they develop into adult tapeworms. When tapeworm eggs are directly ingested by humans and develop into cysts that impinge on nervous tissue, neurocysticercosis occurs. For more information on taeniids please see the CDC Cysticercosis page.

The Molecular Helminthology laboratory has worked on host-parasite interactions in cestode taeniid tapeworms. The Taenia solium and Taenia crassiceps model systems have been used in our research, primarily through collaboration with researchers at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City. Dr. Shoemaker is a member of the Taenia solium Genome Project Advisory Board.

For more information about the Molecular Helminthology Laboratory's research with this model species please see the Taenia Project Page and the Cestode Publications page.