A1 Journal article (refereed)
Does Intraspecific Variation in rDNA Copy Number Affect Analysis of Microbial Communities? (2021)

Lavrinienko, A., Jernfors, T., Koskimäki, J. J., Pirttilä, A. M., & Watts, P. C. (2021). Does Intraspecific Variation in rDNA Copy Number Affect Analysis of Microbial Communities?. Trends in microbiology, 29(1), 19-27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tim.2020.05.019

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsLavrinienko, Anton; Jernfors, Toni; Koskimäki, Janne J.; Pirttilä, Anna Maria; Watts, Phillip C.

Journal or seriesTrends in microbiology



Publication year2021


Issue number1

Pages range19-27


Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/71026


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.

KeywordsmicrobesmicrobiomeDNA analysisribosomesDNARNA

Free keywordsrRNA; copy number; amplicon sequencing; community dynamics

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Related projects

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 20:56