Sporozoites of P. falciparum and other Plasmodia appear to be fairly simple antigenically, in that there is a dominant antigen, the circumsporozoite (CS) protein that forms the sporozoite surface coat (Potocnjak, Yoshida, Nussenzweig & Nussensweig, 1980; Santoro et al. 1983). Consequently, the CS protein and the gene encoding it have now been studied in considerable detail (Ellis et al. 1983; Godson et al. 1983; Ozaki et al. 1983; Dame et al. 1984; Enea et al. 1984). In contrast to sporozoites, the asexual blood stages of P. falciparum are antigenically complex. Two-dimensional gel analyses of immunoprecipitated, biosynthetically labelled antigens indicate that repeated infection with P. falciparum results in the synthesis of antibodies against a large number of distinct antigens (Perrin & Dayal, 1982; Brown et al. 1981, 1983). In further contrast to the sporozoite, the asexual blood stages of different P. falciparum isolates exhibit a high degree of antigenic heterogeneity (Brown et al. 1983; Hall et al. 1983; McBride, Walliker & Morgan, 1982). Much of this antigenic diversity is no doubt due to allelic differences but clonal populations of parasites may also have the capacity to undergo antigenic variation (Hommel, David & Oligino, 1983).