At least seven chromosome-sized DNA molecules (750 to 2000 kilobases in length and one fraction of undetermined molecular weight) from cultured clones and isolates of Plasmodium falciparum have been separated by pulsed-field gradient gel electrophoresis. Whereas asexual blood stages and sexual stages of the same line have identical molecular karyotypes, the length of chromosome-sized DNA molecules among different geographical isolates and several clones derived from a single patient is different. These length alterations of chromosomes are the result of DNA rearrangements that must occur unrelated to sexual differentiation.

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