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Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 509–520 | Cite as

Ribosomal RNA genes in plants: variability in copy number and in the intergenic spacer

  • Scott O. Rogers
  • Arnold J. Bendich
Article

Abstract

Ribosomal RNA genes in plants are highly variable both in copy number and in intergenic spacer (IGS) length. This variability exists not only between distantly related species, but among members of the same genus and also among members of the same population of a single species. Analysis of inheritance indicates that copy number change is rapid, occurring even among somatic cells of individual plants, and that up to 90% or more of the gene copies are superfluous. Subrepetitive sequences within the IGS appear to be changing rapidly as well. They are not only variable in sequence from one species to the next, but can vary in number between neighboring gene repeats on the chromosome. In all species examined in detail they are located in the same region of the IGS and contain sequences that can be folded into stem-loop structures flanked by a pyrimidine-rich region. It has been suggested that these subrepeats function in transcriptional enhancement, termination or processing, or in recombination events generating the high multiplicity of ribosomal genes.

Key words

rDNA variability NTS intergenic spacer (IGS) 

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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott O. Rogers
    • 1
  • Arnold J. Bendich
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Botany and GeneticsUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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