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The helminths are worm-like parasites that feed on a living host to gain nourishment and protection, while causing poor nutrient absorption, weakness and disease in the host. The clinically relevant groups are separated according to their general external shape and the host organ they inhabit. There are both hermaphroditic and bisexual species. The definitive classification is based on the external and internal morphology of egg, larval, and adult stages. Knowledge of the various stages in relation to their growth and development is the basis for understanding the epidemiology and pathogenesis of helminth diseases.
Nematodes are structurally simple organisms. Free-living species are abundant, including nematodes that feed on bacteria, fungi, and other nematodes. The availability of the complete genome sequence of the nematodes, coupled with the worm's size, growth rate, ease of culturing, and the realization that basic biological mechanisms and disease processes between worms and humans are highly conserved, makes this genetically tractable model a remarkable opportunity to dissect and identify in vivo the cellular processes involved in toxin-induced cell dysregulation and death.
Related Journals: Journal of Parasitology; Journal of Nematode Morphology and Systematics; Journal of Parasitology Research; Indian Journal of Nematology; Journal of Helminthology; Asian Journal of Nematology