The apicomplexan Cryptosporidium parvum is one of the most prevalent protozoan parasites of humans. We report the physical mapping of the genome of the Iowa isolate, sequencing and analysis of chromosome 6, and ∼0.9 Mbp of sequence sampled from the remainder of the genome. To construct a robust physical map, we devised a novel and general strategy, enabling accurate placement of clones regardless of clone artefacts. Analysis reveals a compact genome, unusually rich in membrane proteins. As in Plasmodium falciparum, the mean size of the predicted proteins is larger than that in other sequenced eukaryotes. We find several predicted proteins of interest as potential therapeutic targets, including one exhibiting similarity to the chloroquine resistance protein of Plasmodium. Coding sequence analysis argues against the conventional phylogenetic position of Cryptosporidium and supports an earlier Suggestion that this genus arose from an early branching within the Apicomplexa. In agreement with this, we find no significant synteny and surprisingly little protein similarity with Plasmodium. Finally, we find two unusual and abundant repeats throughout the genome. Among sequenced genomes, one motif is abundant only in C. parvum, whereas the other is shared with (but has previously gone unnoticed in) all known genomes of the Coccidia and Haemosporida. These motifs appear to be unique in their structure, distribution and sequences.
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