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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1990 Apr;40(1):137-45.

Chromosome 9 from independent clones and isolates of Plasmodium falciparum undergoes subtelomeric deletions with similar breakpoints in vitro.

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Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria, Australia.


We show that chromosome 9 in all isolates and clones of Plasmodium falciparum examined so far exists as one of two distinctly different forms, a large form about 1.9 megabases long or a smaller form about 25% shorter. Physical maps of chromosome 9 from independent clones with large and small forms of chromosome 9, and from an isolate with the large form and 3 derived clones with the small form reveal the underlying structural basis of this size polymorphism. The small form differs from the large only in that there are subtelomeric deletions at each end, one of these deletions involving about 0.45 megabases. Remarkably, the breakpoints map within about +/- 1% of the total chromosome length for each of these populations. We discuss some possible mechanisms for this.

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