Does Intraspecific Variation in rDNA Copy Number Affect Analysis of Microbial Communities?
Lavrinienko, Anton; Jernfors, Toni; Koskimäki, Janne J.; Pirttilä, Anna Maria; Watts, Phillip C. (2021). Does Intraspecific Variation in rDNA Copy Number Affect Analysis of Microbial Communities?. Trends in microbiology, 29 (1), 19-27. DOI: 10.1016/j.tim.2020.05.019
Published inTrends in microbiology
© 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd
Amplicon sequencing of partial regions of the ribosomal RNA loci (rDNA) is widely used to profile microbial communities. However, the rDNA is dynamic and can exhibit substantial interspecific and intraspecific variation in copy number in prokaryotes and, especially, in microbial eukaryotes. As change in rDNA copy number is a common response to environmental change, rDNA copy number is not necessarily a property of a species. Variation in rDNA copy number, especially the capacity for large intraspecific changes driven by external cues, complicates analyses of rDNA amplicon sequence data. We highlight the need to (i) interpret amplicon sequence data in light of possible interspecific and intraspecific variation, and (ii) examine the potential plasticity in rDNA copy number as an important ecological factor to better understand how microbial communities are structured in heterogeneous environments.