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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2005 Feb 1;51(3):341-52. Epub 2004 Nov 11.

A comparison of DNA- and RNA-based clone libraries from the same marine bacterioplankton community.

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  • 1Department of Biological Oceanography, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research NIOZ, P.O. Box 59, NL-1790 AB Den Burg, The Netherlands.


Clones from the same marine bacterioplankton community were sequenced, 100 clones based on DNA (16S rRNA genes) and 100 clones based on RNA (16S rRNA). This bacterioplankton community was dominated by alpha-Proteobacteria in terms of repetitive DNA clones (52%), but gamma-Proteobacteria dominated in terms of repetitive RNA clones (44%). The combined analysis led to a characterization of phylotypes otherwise uncharacterized if only the DNA or RNA libraries would have been analyzed alone. Of the DNA clones, 25.5% were found only in this library and no close relatives were detected in the RNA library. For clones from the RNA library, 21.5% of RNA clones did not indicate close relatives in the DNA library. Based on the comparisons between DNA and RNA libraries, our data indicate that the characterization of the bacterial community based on RNA has the potential to characterize distinct phylotypes from the marine environment, which remain undetected on the DNA level.

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