Advances and trends in the molecular systematics of the parasitic Platyhelminthes

Adv Parasitol. 2005;60:165-243. doi: 10.1016/S0065-308X(05)60003-6.


The application of molecular systematics to the parasitic Platyhelminthes (Cestoda, Digenea and Monogenea) over the last decade has advanced our understanding of their interrelationships and evolution substantially. Here we review the current state of play and the early works that led to the molecular-based hypotheses that now predominate in the field; advances in their systematics, taxonomy, classification and phylogeny, as well as trends in species circumscription, molecular targets and analytical methods are discussed for each of the three major parasitic groups. A by-product of this effort has been an ever increasing number of parasitic flatworms characterized genetically, and the useful application of these data to the diagnosis of animal and human pathogens, and to the elucidation of life histories are presented. The final section considers future directions in the field, including taxon sampling, molecular targets of choice, and the current and future utility of mitochondrial and nuclear genomics in systematic study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cestoda / classification
  • Cestode Infections / diagnosis
  • DNA, Helminth* / chemistry
  • DNA, Helminth* / classification
  • DNA, Helminth* / genetics
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genomics
  • Molecular Biology / methods
  • Phylogeny
  • Platyhelminths / classification*
  • Species Specificity
  • Trematoda / classification
  • Trematode Infections / diagnosis


  • DNA, Helminth
  • Genetic Markers