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Nucleic Acids Res. 1993 Mar 11;21(5):1067-71.

Sequence and organization of large subunit rRNA genes from the extrachromosomal 35 kb circular DNA of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

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National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, UK.


The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum carries an extrachromosomal 35 kb circular DNA molecule of unknown provenance. A striking feature of the circle is a palindromic sequence of genes for subunit rRNAs and several tRNAs, spanning ca. 10.5 kb. The palindrome has an intriguing resemblance to the inverted repeat of plastid genomes, and the sequence and putative secondary structure of the malarial large subunit (LSU) rRNA described in this report were used as the basis of a phylogenetic study. The malarial rRNA was found to be highly divergent in comparison with a selected group of chloroplast LSU rRNAs but was more closely related to them than to mitochondrial LSU rRNA genes.

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