Excess Polymorphisms in Genes for Membrane Proteins in Plasmodium falciparum

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Science  04 Oct 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5591, pp. 216-218
DOI: 10.1126/science.1075642

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The detection of single-nucleotide polymorphisms in pathogenic microorganisms has normally been carried out by trial and error. Here we show that DNA hybridization with high-density oligonucleotide arrays provides rapid and convenient detection of single-nucleotide polymorphisms in Plasmodium falciparum, despite its exceptionally high adenine-thymine (AT) content (82%). A disproportionate number of polymorphisms are found in genes encoding proteins associated with the cell membrane. These genes are targets for only 22% of the oligonucleotide probes but account for 69% of the polymorphisms. Genetic variation is also enriched in subtelomeric regions, which account for 22% of the chromosome but 76% of the polymorphisms.

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