The functional significance of ribosomal (r)DNA variation: Impacts on the evolutionary ecology of organisms

Lawrence J. Weider, James Elser, Teresa J. Crease, Mariana Mateos, James B. Cotner, Therese A. Markow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

97 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The multi-gene family that encodes ribosomal RNA (the rDNA) has been the subject of numerous review articles examining its structure and function, as well as its use as a molecular systematic marker. The purpose of this review is to integrate information about structural and functional aspects of rDNA that impact the ecology and evolution of organisms. We examine current understanding of the impact of length heterogeneity and copy number in the rDNA on fitness and the evolutionary ecology of organisms. We also examine the role that elemental ratios (biological stoichiometry) play in mediating the impact of rDNA variation in natural populations and ecosystems. The body of work examined suggests that there are strong reciprocal feedbacks between rDNA and the ecology of all organisms, from microbes to metazoans, mediated through increased phosphorus demand in organisms with high rRNA content.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-242
Number of pages24
JournalAnnual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics
Volume36
DOIs
StatePublished - 2005

Fingerprint

ribosomal DNA
ecology
DNA
organisms
molecular systematics
stoichiometry
multigene family
fitness
ribosomal RNA
phosphorus
microorganisms
organism
ecosystems
gene
ecosystem

Keywords

  • Fitness
  • Growth rate
  • Intergenic spacer
  • Microevolution
  • Ribosomal DNA
  • Stoichiometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

The functional significance of ribosomal (r)DNA variation : Impacts on the evolutionary ecology of organisms. / Weider, Lawrence J.; Elser, James; Crease, Teresa J.; Mateos, Mariana; Cotner, James B.; Markow, Therese A.

In: Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, Vol. 36, 2005, p. 219-242.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Weider, Lawrence J. ; Elser, James ; Crease, Teresa J. ; Mateos, Mariana ; Cotner, James B. ; Markow, Therese A. / The functional significance of ribosomal (r)DNA variation : Impacts on the evolutionary ecology of organisms. In: Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics. 2005 ; Vol. 36. pp. 219-242.
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