As in perhaps all eukaryotes, schistosomes use a supplementary information transmitting system, the epigenetic inheritance system, to shape genetic information and to produce different phenotypes. In contrast to other important parasites, the study of epigenetic phenomena in schistosomes is still in its infancy. Nevertheless, we are beginning to grasp what goes on behind the epigenetic scene in this parasite. We have developed techniques of native chromatin immunoprecipitation (N-ChIP) and associated the necessary bioinformatics tools that allow us to run genome-wide comparative chromatin studies on Schistosoma mansoni
at different stages of its life cycle, on different strains and on different sexes. We present here an application of such an approach to study the genetic and epigenetic basis for a phenotypic trait, the compatibility of S. mansoni
with its invertebrate host Biomphalaria glabrata
. We have applied the ChIP procedure to two strains that are either compatible or incompatible with their intermediate host. The precipitated DNA was sequenced and aligned to a reference genome and this information was used to determine regions in which both strands differ in their genomic sequence and/or chromatin structure. This procedure allowed us to identify candidate genes that display either genetic or epigenetic difference between the two strains.