"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

January 13, 2010

January 13 - Hymenolepis microstoma

Tapeworms are one of the main groups of parasitic flatworms, which also include the flukes (e.g. Schistosoma mansoni) and the 'monogeneans' (freshwater and marine fish parasites). Species of Hymenolepis, as shown here, are common parasites of rodents and use flour beetles as intermediate hosts. These species are thus easily maintained in the laboratory and have served as models for understanding tapeworm biology since the 1950s. Ongoing efforts to sequence the complete genome of this animal (see this link) will bring this classical model into the age of genomic research and will thus greatly increase the speed with which investigators can elucidate the genetic mechanisms that underly tapeworm biology.

Contributed by Pete Olson

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