Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Repetitive DNA elements have been a part of the genomic fauna of eukaryotes perhaps since their very beginnings. Millions of years of coevolution have given repeats central roles in chromosome maintenance and genetic modulation. Here we review the genomes of parasitic protozoa in the context of the current understanding of repetitive elements. Particular reference is made to repeats in five medically important species with ongoing or completed genome sequencing projects: Plasmodium falciparum, Leishmania major, Trypanosoma brucei, Trypanosoma cruzi, and Giardia lamblia. These organisms are used to illustrate five thematic classes of repeats with different structures and genomic locations. We discuss how these repeat classes may interact with parasitic life-style and also how they can be used as experimental tools. The story which emerges is one of opportunism and upheaval which have been employed to add genetic diversity and genomic flexibility.


Journal article


Microbiol Mol Biol Rev

Publication Date





360 - 375


Animals, Centromere, Eukaryota, Genes, Protozoan, Genome, Protozoan, Giardia lamblia, Leishmania major, Plasmodium falciparum, Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid, Retroelements, Telomere, Trypanosoma brucei brucei, Trypanosoma cruzi