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EMBO J. 1994 Sep 1; 13(17): 4174–4180.
PMCID: PMC395340

Interchromosomal exchange of a large subtelomeric segment in a Plasmodium falciparum cross.


Duplications and interchromosomal transpositions of chromosome segments are implicated in the genetic variability of Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites. One parasite clone, HB3, was shown to lack a subtelomeric region of chromosome 13 that normally carries a PfHRPIII gene. We show here that the chromosome 13 segment carrying PfHRPIII was replaced in HB3 by a duplicated terminal segment from chromosome 11. Mapping results indicate that the segment includes at least 100-200 kb of subtelomeric DNA and contains duplicated copies of the Pf332 and RESA-2 genes. We followed inheritance of this duplication in a genetic cross between the HB3 and another P.falciparum clone, Dd2, that is euploid for the Pf332, RESA-2 and PfHRPIII genes. Three types of progeny from the cross showed expected inheritance forms: a Dd2 euploid parent type, an HB3 aneuploid parent type, and a recombinant euploid type that carried PfHRPIII from Dd2 chromosome 13 and Pf332 from HB3 chromosome 11. However, a fourth euploid progeny type was also observed, in which the chromosome 13 segment from HB3 was transposed back to replace the terminus of chromosome 11. Three of 14 individual progeny were of this type. These findings suggest a mechanism of recombination from subtelomeric pairing and exchange between non-homologous chromosomes in meiosis.

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