Because of the lack of methods for continuous in vitro culture of Plasmodium vivax, little is known about drug-resistance mechanisms in this malaria-causing parasite. Therefore, identification of all the genes potentially involved in drug resistance and of molecular markers related to drug resistance would provide a framework for studying the incidence and spread of drug-resistant P. vivax strains. We have identified the P. vivax orthologue of the pfmdr1 gene (pvmdr1), which was shown to have a role in the drug resistance of Plasmodium falciparum. Comparison of the alignments of both nucleotide and amino acid sequences of pvmdr1 with those of other Plasmodium multidrug-resistance genes revealed an open-reading frame of 4392 base pairs encoding a deduced protein of 1464 amino acids. Nucleotide polymorphisms at 2 codons of the pvmdr1 gene - Y976F and F1076L - were found in 14 of 23 P. vivax isolates from different areas of endemicity, including Thailand, Indonesia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and French Guyana.