Plasmodium falciparum is the most deadly of the five Plasmodium species that cause human malaria. Malaria has a massive impact on human health; it is the worlds second biggest killer after tuberculosis. Around 300 million clinical cases occur each year resulting in between 1.5 - 2.7 million deaths annually, the majority in sub-saharan Africa. It is estimated that 3,000 children under the age of five years fall victim to malaria each day. Around 40% of the worlds population are at risk.
The P. falciparum IT nuclear genome is 23.3 Mb in size, with a karyotype of 14 chromosomes. The G+C content is approximately 19%.
The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute plans on publishing the completed and annotated sequences of P. falciparum IT in a peer-reviewed journal as soon as possible. Permission of the principal investigator should be obtained before publishing analyses of the sequence/open reading frames/genes on a chromosome or genome scale.
New version of the genome (August 2012)
A new assembly of the P. falciparum IT genome is now available (August 2012), replacing the version 2 sequence that has been available via PlasmoDB (since release 9.0) and the Sanger FTP site. In version 3, an additional contig has been added that contains a partial var gene (PFIT_bin11100). The new version can be viewed and searched on GeneDB. EMBL and GFF format files can be downloaded from the FTP site.
New version of the genome (November 2011)
A new assembly of the P. falciparum IT genome is now available (November 2011), replacing the version 1 sequence that has been available via PlasmoDB (since release 8.0) and the Sanger FTP site. The version 1 sequence was produced by “correcting” (or morphing) the reference 3D7 sequence, using aligned Illumina reads from IT. However, in version 2, the sequence data have been assembled de novo. A key aim for this genome project is to fully assemble the subtelomeric regions. Although we were able to correctly assemble some subtelomeric sequences onto the “core” of the genome (i.e. the interstitial or housekeeping region), many subtelomeric sequences remain problematic and are being actively refined. The annotation is automated and no manual curation has taken place.
The new version contains new systematic identifiers compliant with those now in use for 3D7. However, old identifiers remain in the database as fully searchable synonyms. The new version can be viewed and searched on GeneDB and will be loaded into PlasmoDB in early 2012. EMBL and GFF format files can be downloaded from the FTP site.
This work was funded by the Wellcome Trust [grant number WT085775/Z/08/Z] and the European Union's 7th Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n°242095.