In the October 3 Nature, a collaborative team of researchers from The Institute for Genomic Research, The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the Stanford Genome Technology Center report the genome sequence of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum (Nature, 419:498-511, October 3, 2002).

Malaria kills over one million people a year and some estimates predict that the number of cases may double in the next two decades. P. falciparum is the most lethal of the human Plasmodium species and an international effort to sequence its genome began six years ago.

Gardner et al. carried out whole chromosome shotgun sequencing of P. falciparum clone 3D7 an observed that the genome is 22.8 Mbp long, organized into 14 chromosomes and has an unusually high A+T composition (averaging 80.6% and rising to 90% in introns and intergenic regions). They predict that there are around 5,300 protein-coding genes, half of...

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