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Snakes are limbless predators, and many species use venom to help overpower relatively large, agile prey. Snake venoms are complex protein mixtures encoded by several multilocus gene families that function synergistically to cause incapacitation. To examine venom evolution, we sequenced and interrogated the genome of a venomous snake, the king cobra(More)
Venoms have evolved on numerous occasions throughout the animal kingdom. These 'biochemical weapon systems' typically function to facilitate, or protect the producing animal from, predation. Most venomous animals remain unstudied despite venoms providing model systems for investigating predator-prey interactions, molecular evolution, functional convergence,(More)
BACKGROUND Venom variation occurs at all taxonomical levels and can impact significantly upon the clinical manifestations and efficacy of antivenom therapy following snakebite. Variation in snake venom composition is thought to be subject to strong natural selection as a result of adaptation towards specific diets. Members of the medically important genus(More)
Variation in venom composition is a ubiquitous phenomenon in snakes and occurs both interspecifically and intraspecifically. Venom variation can have severe outcomes for snakebite victims by rendering the specific antibodies found in antivenoms ineffective against heterologous toxins found in different venoms. The rapid evolutionary expansion of different(More)
Gene duplication is a key mechanism for the adaptive evolution and neofunctionalization of gene families. Large multigene families often exhibit complex evolutionary histories as a result of frequent gene duplication acting in concordance with positive selection pressures. Alterations in the domain structure of genes, causing changes in the molecular(More)
Within many research areas, such as transcriptomics, the millions of short DNA fragments (reads) produced by current sequencing platforms need to be assembled into transcript sequences before they can be utilized. Despite recent advances in assembly software, creating such transcripts from read data harboring isoform variation remains challenging. This is(More)
C57BL/6 and Balb/c mice were immunized with ultraviolet-irradiated cercariae of Egyptian strains of Schistosoma mansoni and S. haematobium, challenged with nonirradiated cercariae of the homologous or heterologous species, and assayed for protection against challenge infection by comparing the adult worm burdens of immunized and non-immunized mice.(More)
Echis ocellatus is the most medically important snake in West Africa. However, the composition of its venom and the differential contribution of these venom components to the severe haemorrhagic and coagulopathic pathology of envenoming are poorly understood. To address this situation we assembled a toxin transcriptome based upon 1000 expressed sequence(More)
Onchocerca volvulus is a tissue-dwelling, vector-borne nematode parasite of humans and the causative agent of onchocerciasis, or 'River Blindness'. Resistance to infection is associated with immune responses to the infective, third-stage (L3) larvae. The antigens of greatest interest for their vaccine potential are surface and secreted molecules. We have(More)