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New Plasmodium sequences kick-start comparative genomics Four distinct Plasmodium species are known to regularly infect humans: Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae and P. ovale. The genome sequence of P. falciparum, the cause of the most severe type of human malaria, was completed in 2002 at the same time as the mosquito vector, Anopheles gambiae. In this week's Nature, which focuses on the malaria parasite, two further malaria genome sequences are described. First that of P. vivax, which contributes significant numbers to malaria incidence in humans, though in contrast to P. falciparum, the resulting disease is usually not fatal. The genome of this rather neglected species is presented together with a comparative analysis with the genomes of other Plasmodium species. The micrograph on the cover (by Elisabet Caler & Jane Carlton) shows an infected liver cell containing P. vivax in the dormant hypnozoite stage. [Article p. 757] Second, we publish the genome sequence of Plasmodium knowlesi. For long regarded as a monkey malaria parasite, it is increasingly becoming recognized as the fifth human-infecting Plasmodium species. In particular, it is prevalent in South East Asia where it is often misdiagnosed as another human malaria parasite P. malariae. As a model organism P. knowlesi stands out: not only is it a primate system, useful for work on vaccines, but it can be cultured in vitro and subjected to efficient transfection and gene knockouts. [Letter p. 799]. In a Review Article, Elizabeth Winzeler considers the progress made towards using the genome sequence to understand basic malaria parasite biology, and in particular the work on developing rational therapeutic approaches to combat P. falciparum infections. [Review Article p. 751]. See also the Editorial [page 707]. For a comprehensive collection of resources visit Nature's past malaria specials online. [http://tinyurl.com/4x95hm; http://tinyurl.com/3n78pn; http://tinyurl.com/3ozy38; http://tinyurl.com/4kv6sx; http://tinyurl.com/5442hp; http://tinyurl.com/42w2a7t]