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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1995 Jul; 61(7): 2798–2801.
PMCID: PMC167554

Effect of genome size and rrn gene copy number on PCR amplification of 16S rRNA genes from a mixture of bacterial species.


In order to assess the effect of genome size and number of 16S rRNA genes (rDNAs) on the quantities of PCR-generated partial 16S rDNA fragments, equimolar amounts of DNA from pairs of different species for which these parameters are known were subjected to gene amplification. The experimentally determined ratio of PCR products obtained, as determined by image analysis of SYBR-Green I-stained amplification products, corresponded well with the predicted ratio calculated from the number of rrn genes per equimolar amounts of DNA in mixtures of Escherichia coli and "Thermus thermophilus" and of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and "T. thermophilus." The values for the pair of Bacillus subtilis and "T. thermophilus" showed greater deviations from the predicted value. The dependence of the amount of 16S rDNA amplification product on these two parameters makes it impossible to quantify the number of species represented in 16S rDNA clone libraries of environmental samples as long as these two parameters are unknown for the species present.

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Selected References

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