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J Theor Biol. 1992 Sep 21;158(2):199-205.

Plastid origin of an extrachromosomal DNA molecule from Plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, U.K.


Several species of Plasmodium have been shown to contain a circular extrachromosomal DNA molecule which is widely supposed to be mitochondrial DNA. However, it has recently been shown to have a number of features in common with chloroplast DNA. Here, a phylogenetic analysis of RNA polymerase coding sequences from the Plasmodium molecule has been carried out using distance matrix, maximum likelihood, parsimony and operator invariant methods. The analysis indicates that the molecule is in fact derived from an oxygenic photosynthetic organism and should be regarded as plastid DNA. This suggests that Plasmodium originated from a phototroph that has lost the capacity to photosynthesize.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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