Comparative genomics of the pathogenic ciliate Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, its free-living relatives and a host species provide insights into adoption of a parasitic lifestyle and prospects for disease control
Coyne RS, Hannick L, Shanmugam D, Hostetler JB, Brami D, Joardar VS, Johnson J, Radune D, Singh I, Badger JH, Kumar U, Saier M, Wang Y, Cai H, Gu J, Mather MW, Vaidya AB, Wilkes DE, Rajagopalan V, Asai DJ, Pearson CG, Findly RC, Dickerson HW, Wu M, Martens C, Van de Peer Y, Roos DS, Cassidy-Hanley DM, Clark TG
Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, commonly known as Ich, is a highly pathogenic ciliate responsible for 'white spot', a disease causing significant economic losses to the global aquaculture industry. Options for disease control are extremely limited, and Ich's obligate parasitic lifestyle makes experimental studies challenging. Unlike most well-studied protozoan parasites, Ich belongs to a phylum composed primarily of free-living members. Indeed, it is closely related to the model organism Tetrahymena thermophila. Genomic studies represent a promising strategy to reduce the impact of this disease and to understand the evolutionary transition to parasitism.