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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1991 Jun;46(2):292-302.

Long-range restriction maps of size-variable homologous chromosomes in Leishmania infantum.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Ecologie Médicale et de Pathologie Parasitaire, Faculté de Médecine, Montpellier, France.


In order to clarify the interpretation of molecular karyotype polymorphisms in Leishmania, the three smallest chromosomes from five cloned strains of Leishmania infantum were identified by chromosome-specific anonymous DNA probes. The presence in the same clone of homologous chromosomes of a different size was demonstrated. The chromosome size polymorphism appeared even more dramatic, with size variations affecting up to 20% of the chromosome, and the two smallest bands in one strain being equivalent to six bands in another strain. Long-range restriction maps of five different-sized homologues of chromosome I showed the size-variation to be located to a terminal fragment in 4 out of 5 cases, and to a central fragment in one. The size-variable sequence was present on at least three other chromosomes as determined by hybridisation analysis. This suggests an instability of the subtelomeric regions such as that in Plasmodium falciparum. Lastly, the finding of several pairs of distinct-sized homologous chromosomes, together with other studies, strongly suggest that Leishmania is diploid in at least part of its chromosomal complement.

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