This review assembles data from three bodies of literature (bacterial genet
ics, plastid biogenesis and parasitology) that seldom have much direct cros
stalk. After overcoming terminological complications to sort out microbial
nifS from sufS genes, we connect a bacterial operon, recently found to be i
nvolved in iron metabolism, the formation of [Fe-S] clusters and oxidative
stress to a potentially important gene (sufB) carried on the degenerate pla
stid genome of malaria and related parasites.