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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1988 Oct;31(1):11-7.

Mitochondrial DNA of the human malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

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Division of Parasitology, National Institute for Medical Research, London, U.K.


Covalently closed circular DNA molecules were isolated from Plasmodium falciparum total DNA by isopycnic centrifugation in CsCl gradients containing either ethidium bromide or 2',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole. The circular molecules had an average contour length of 11.1 +/- 0.5 micron, similar to the analogous molecules previously isolated from the simian malaria parasite P. knowlesi. Both circular molecules shared considerable sequence homology and conserved restriction sites. The nucleotide sequence of one 936 bp fragment of the P. falciparum molecule was determined and identified, by a data base homology search, as part of a mitochondrial small rRNA subunit, thus confirming the mitochondrial origin of the circular DNAs of both malarial species.

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