Over the past few years, several reports have been published about the characterization of Plasmodium genes that are thought, on the basis of sequence homology with eukaryotic genes of known function, to be involved in the regulation of growth and differentiation of the parasite. Taken together with phenomenological observations on the regulation of developmental stages in the malaria life cycle, these data form the basis of an informative, albeit incomplete, picture of signal transtruction in Plasmodium. Christian Doerig here reviews Plasmodium elements that are presumably part of major regulatory pathways conserved in eukaryotes, and addresses the problem of how to pursue such studies beyond the stage of gene identification