Schistosomes cause one of the most devastating neglected tropical diseases, schistosomiasis. Their transmission is accomplished through a complex life cycle with two obligate hosts and requires multiple radically different body plans specialized for infecting and reproducing in each host. Recent single-cell transcriptomic studies on several schistosome body plans provide a comprehensive map of their cell types, which include stem cells and their differentiated progeny along an intricate developmental hierarchy. This progress not only extends our understanding of the basic biology of the schistosome life cycle but can also inform new therapeutic and preventive strategies against the disease, as blocking the development of specific cell types through genetic manipulations has shown promise in inhibiting parasite survival, growth, and reproduction.
Keywords: cell type atlas; development; life cycle; schistosome; single-cell sequencing; stem cells.
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