Identification and functional characterization of cis-regulatory elements in apicomplexan parasites
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Apicomplexan parasites, a group of phylogenetically divergent protist parasites are known for causing several diseases including malaria, cryptosporidiosis and toxoplasmosis. Gene-regulatory mechanisms in this group of parasites remain largely unknown. Owing to their medical and evolutionary importance, several apicomplexan genomes have been sequenced. This thesis describes an effort to identify and characterize novel cis-regulatory elements in the genomes of Toxoplasma gondii and Cryptosporidium parvum by using a combination of computational and experimental tools. I have shown that cis-regulatory elements play a significant role in the regulation of gene expression in these parasites, as is evidenced by the presence of conserved cis-motifs that are associated with gene expression.