Evolutionary relatedness of Plasmodium species as determined by the structure of DNA

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Science  24 Aug 1984:
Vol. 225, Issue 4664, pp. 808-811
DOI: 10.1126/science.6382604


Malaria parasites can be grouped evolutionarily by analysis of DNA composition and genome arrangement. Those that vary widely with regard to host range, morphology, and biological characteristics fit into only a small number of distinctive groups. The DNA of the human parasite Plasmodium falciparum fits into a group that includes rodent and avian malarias and is unlike the DNA of other primate malaria parasites. The DNA of Plasmodium vivax, which is also a human parasite, fits into a distinctly different group that includes Plasmodium cynomolgi, a parasite of monkeys. The evolutionary lines suggested here appear to be consistent with similarities seen among malaria parasites with regard to gene sequence.