The highly A+T rich genomes of human and rodent malarial parasites offer unprecedented glimpses of a lineage that is distinct from other model organisms. Plasmodium is distinguished by the presence of numerous low complexity inserts within globular domains of proteins. It displays several peculiarities in its transcription apparatus, and its DNA repair system appears to favor a certain innate level of mutability. Plasmodium possesses many cell surface molecules with "animal-like" adhesion modules. Potential genetic footprints of the ancestral eukaryotic algal precursor of the apicoplast are also detectable in its genome.