Malaria parasites, and other parasitic protists of the Phylum Apicomplexa, carry a plastid-like genome with greatly reduced sequence complexity. This 35 kb DNA circle resembles the plastid DNA of non-photosynthetic plants, encoding almost exclusively components involved in gene expression. The complete gene map described here includes genes for duplicated large and small subunit rRNAs, 25 species of tRNA, three subunits of a eubacterial RNA polymerase, 17 ribosomal proteins, and a translation elongation factor. In addition, it codes for an unusual member of the Clp family of chaperones, as well as an open reading frame of unknown function found in red algal plastids. Transcription is polycistronic. This plastid-like DNA molecule is conserved in several genera of apicomplexans and is conjectured to have been acquired by an early progenitor of the Phylum by secondary endosymbiosis. The function of the organelle (plastid) carrying this DNA remains obscure, but appears to be specified by genes transferred to the nucleus.