Parasitic nematodes (roundworms) of small ruminants and other livestock have major economic impacts worldwide. Despite the impact of the diseases caused by these nematodes and the discovery of new therapeutic agents (anthelmintics), there has been relatively limited progress in the development of practical molecular tools to study the epidemiology of these nematodes. Specific diagnosis underpins parasite control, and the detection and monitoring of anthelmintic resistance in livestock parasites, presently a major concern around the world. The purpose of the present article is to provide a concise account of the biology and knowledge of the epidemiology of the gastrointestinal nematodes (order Strongylida), from an Australian perspective, and to emphasize the importance of utilizing advanced molecular tools for the specific diagnosis of nematode infections for refined investigations of parasite epidemiology and drug resistance detection in combination with conventional methods. It also gives a perspective on the possibility of harnessing genetic, genomic and bioinformatic technologies to better understand parasites and control parasitic diseases.
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