A White Paper on Nematode Comparative Genomics


  • David McK. Bird
  • Mark L. Blaxter
  • James P. McCarter
  • Makedonka Mitreva
  • Paul W. Sternberg
  • W. Kelley Thomas


caenorhabditis elegans, comparative genomics, genome sequencing, systematics


In response to the new opportunities for genome sequencing and comparative genomics, the Society of Nematology (SON) formed a committee to develop a white paper in support of the broad scientific needs associated with this phylum and interests of SON members. Although genome sequencing is expensive, the data generated are unique in biological systems in that genomes have the potential to be complete (every base of the genome can be accounted for), accurate (the data are digital and not subject to stochastic variation), and permanent (once obtained, the genome of a species does not need to be experimentally re-sampled). The availability of complete, accurate, and permanent genome sequences from diverse nematode species will underpin future studies into the biology and evolution of this phylum and the ecological associations (particularly parasitic) nematodes have with other organisms. We anticipate that upwards of 100 nematode genomes will be solved to varying levels of completion in the coming decade and suggest biological and practical considerations to guide the selection of the most informative taxa for sequencing.