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Parasitol Res. 2009 Jun;104(6):1361-4. doi: 10.1007/s00436-009-1338-8. Epub 2009 Jan 29.

In silico comparative genome analysis of malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax chromosome 4.

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Department of Biosciences, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan.


Malarial parasite has long been a subject of research for a large community of scientists and has yet to be conquered. One of the main obstacles to effectively control this disease is rapidly evolving genetic structure of Plasmodium parasite itself. In this study, we focused on chromosome 4 of the Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax species and carried out comparative studies of genes that are responsible for antigenic variation in respective species. Comparative analysis of genes responsible for antigenic variation (var and vir genes in P. falciparum and P. vivax, respectively) showed significant difference in their respective nucleotide sequence lengths as well as amino acid composition. The possible association of exon's length on pathogenecity of respective Plasmodium species was also investigated, and analysis of gene structure showed that on the whole, exon lengths in P. falciparum are larger compared to P. vivax. Analysis of tandem repeats across the genome has shown that the size of repetitive sequences has a direct effect on chromosomes length, which can also be a potential reason for P. falciparum's greater variability and hence pathogenecity than P. vivax.

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