Characterization of the first tapeworm genome, Echinococcus multilocularis, is now nearly complete, and genome assemblies of E. granulosus, Taenia solium and Hymenolepis microstoma are in advanced draft versions. These initiatives herald the beginning of a genomic era in cestodology and underpin a diverse set of research agendas targeting both basic and applied aspects of tapeworm biology. We discuss the progress in the genomics of these species, provide insights into the presence and composition of immunologically relevant gene families, including the antigen B- and EG95/45W families, and discuss chemogenomic approaches toward the development of novel chemotherapeutics against cestode diseases. In addition, we discuss the evolution of tapeworm parasites and introduce the research programmes linked to genome initiatives that are aimed at understanding signalling systems involved in basic host-parasite interactions and morphogenesis.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.