The molecular mechanisms underlying gametocytogenesis in malaria parasites are not understood. Plasmodium falciparum cdc2-related kinase 1 (pfcrk-1), a gene that is expressed predominantly in gametocytes, bears homology to the PITSLRE subfamily of cyclin-dependent kinases and has been hypothesized to function as a negative regulator of the cell cycle. We attempted to knock-out pbcrk-1, the P. berghei orthologue of pfcrk-1, but were unable to recover P. berghei parasites with a disrupted pbcrk-1 locus. In contrast, an integration event at this locus that did not result in a loss-of-function of the pbcrk-1 gene was readily observed. This strongly suggests that a functional pbcrk-1 gene product is essential to intraerythrocytic asexual multiplication.