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

Martin W. Shirley, Beverley A. Biggs*, Karen P. Forsyth, Heidi J. Brown, Jennifer K. Thompson, Graham V. Brown, David J. Kemp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • size polymorphism
  • subtelomeric deletion
  • chromosome 9

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