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Nucleic Acids Res. 1995 Nov 11;23(21):4329-36.

tRNA genes transcribed from the plastid-like DNA of Plasmodium falciparum.

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Division of Parasitology, National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, UK.


Besides their mitochondrial genome, malarial parasites contain a second organellar DNA. This 35 kb circular molecule has a number of features reminiscent of plastid DNAs. Sequence analysis shows that along with other genes the circle codes for 25 different tRNAs all of which are transcribed. Six of the tRNAs have some unusual features, and one has an intron, the only one found so far on the circle. Comparison of codon and anticodon usage indicates that the 25 tRNAs are sufficient to decode all the protein genes present on the circle. The maintenance of such a parsimonious but complete translation system is further evidence for the functionality of the circle.

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