Species of malaria parasite that infect rodents have long been used as models for malaria disease research. Here we report the whole-genome shotgun sequence of one species, Plasmodium yoelii yoelii, and comparative studies with the genome of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum clone 3D7. A synteny map of 2, 212 P. y. yoelii contiguous DNA sequences (contigs) aligned to 14 P. falciparum chromosomes reveals marked conservation of gene synteny within the body of each chromosome. Of about 5, 300 P. falciparum genes, more than 3, 300 P. y. yoelii orthologues of predominantly metabolic function were identified. Over 800 copies of a variant antigen gene located in subtelomeric regions were found. This is the first genome sequence of a model eukaryotic parasite, and it provides insight into the use of such systems in the modelling of Plasmodium biology and disease.
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