The hookworm Necator americanus is the predominant soil-transmitted human parasite. Adult worms feed on blood in the small intestine, causing iron-deficiency anemia, malnutrition, growth and development stunting in children, and severe morbidity and mortality during pregnancy in women. We report sequencing and assembly of the N. americanus genome (244 Mb, 19,151 genes). Characterization of this first hookworm genome sequence identified genes orchestrating the hookworm's invasion of the human host, genes involved in blood feeding and development, and genes encoding proteins that represent new potential drug targets against hookworms. N. americanus has undergone a considerable and unique expansion of immunomodulator proteins, some of which we highlight as potential treatments against inflammatory diseases. We also used a protein microarray to demonstrate a postgenomic application of the hookworm genome sequence. This genome provides an invaluable resource to boost ongoing efforts toward fundamental and applied postgenomic research, including the development of new methods to control hookworm and human immunological diseases.
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