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Genetics in parasitic nematodes

Adrian Streit

Adrian Streit

  • PhD at the University of Bern, 1991-94
  • Postdoc and Researcher at the Universities of Colorado, Zürich and Fribourg, 1994-03
  • Project leader at the MPI since 2003

Research Interest

The nematode genus Strongyloides consists of parasites that live as parthenogenetic females in the small intestines of their vertebrate hosts. In addition to producing parasitic offspring, the different species of Strongyloides can also form a facultative free-living generation with males and females. This complex life cycle gives these worms an ecologically and mechanistically most interesting "choice" between a parasitic life style associated with clonal reproduction and a free-living existence with sexual reproduction. The presence of a free-living generation offers a unique opportunity for the experimental manipulation of a true parasite. We combine molecular and genetic approaches to study and compare various aspects of the reproductive biology of different species of Strongyloides spp.
The human parasite Strongyloides stercoralis is the causing agent of strongyloidasis. This disease is considered one of the neglected tropical diseases. In collaboration with clinical parasitologists we study the taxonomy, host range and zoonotic potential of this parasite in the field.
In collaboration with colleagues from the University of Tübingen and the "Progammes Onchocercoses" at Ngoundéré, Cameroon we study the reproductive biology of Onchocerca ochengi, a filarial nematode of cattle. This worm is most closely related to O. volvulus, which causes human onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness.

Selected Reading

1) Streit, A. (2017). Genetics: Modes of Reproduction and Genetic Analysis. Parasitology, 144, 316-326 (Review, special issue on Strongyloides spp.) DOI: 10.1017/S0031182016000342.
2) Jaleta, T. G., Zhou. S., Bemm, F., Khieu, V., Sinuon, M., Schär, F., Odermatt, P. and Streit, A. (2017). Different but overlapping populations of Strongyloides stercoralis in dogs and humans - dogs as a possible source for zoonotic strongyloidiasis. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 11(8): e0005752.
3) Kulkarni, A., Holz, A., Rödelsperger, C., Harbecke, D. and Streit, A. (2016). Differential chromatin amplification and chromosome complements in the germline of Strongyloididae (Nematoda). Chromosoma, 125, 125-136. DOI: 10.1007/s00412-015-0532-y.
(click to enlarge)
Life cycle of Strongyloides papillosus.