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EMBO J. 1986 Jun;5(6):1299-305.

The karyotype and ploidy of Trypanosoma cruzi.


Little is known of the number or organization of chromosomes in Trypanosoma cruzi, the protozoan parasite responsible for Chagas' disease in man in the New World. Straightforward cytogenetic analysis is precluded because trypanosome chromosomes fail to condense during the cell cycle. We have size-fractionated the chromosome-sized DNA molecules of representative T. cruzi strains by pulsed field gradient (PFG) gel electrophoresis and located several housekeeping genes by Southern blotting using cDNA probes from the related trypanosome T. brucei. We show that DNA molecules from homologous chromosomes of T. cruzi migrate differently in the PFG system and infer that T. cruzi epimastigotes are at minimum diploid. In contrast to T. brucei, mini-chromosomes are absent in T. cruzi. All the housekeeping genes studied hybridize to DNA molecules which can be resolved in the PFG system, suggesting that T. cruzi may have no chromosomes larger than a few megabase pairs.

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