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Open Access Research

Description of Hymenolepis microstoma (Nottingham strain): a classical tapeworm model for research in the genomic era

Lucas J Cunningham and Peter D Olson*

Author Affiliations

Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, UK

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Parasites & Vectors 2010, 3:123  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-3-123

Published: 31 December 2010

Abstract

Background

Hymenolepis microstoma (Dujardin, 1845) Blanchard, 1891, the mouse bile duct tapeworm, is a rodent/beetle-hosted laboratory model that has been used in research and teaching since its domestication in the 1950s. Recent characterization of its genome has prompted us to describe the specific strain that underpins these data, anchoring its identity and bringing the 150+ year-old original description up-to-date.

Results

Morphometric and ultrastructural analyses were carried out on laboratory-reared specimens of the 'Nottingham' strain of Hymenolepis microstoma used for genome characterization. A contemporary description of the species is provided including detailed illustration of adult anatomy and elucidation of its taxonomy and the history of the specific laboratory isolate.

Conclusions

Our work acts to anchor the specific strain from which the H. microstoma genome has been characterized and provides an anatomical reference for researchers needing to employ a model tapeworm system that enables easy access to all stages of the life cycle. We review its classification, life history and development, and briefly discuss the genome and other model systems being employed at the beginning of a genomic era in cestodology.