A gene encoding a novel cdc2-related protein kinase has been identified in Plasmodium falciparum, using degenerate oligonucleotides designed to hybridise to regions that are conserved in members of the cdc2 gene family. This gene, called Pfcrk-1, is located on chromosome 4. It is most closely related to the p58GTA gene family, members of which are negative regulators of cell growth in vertebrates. Pfcrk-1 is developmentally regulated, as indicated by stage-specific accumulation of mRNA in gametocytes.