Article: Molecular Ecology

Genome‐based estimates of fungal rDNA copy number variation across phylogenetic scales and ecological lifestyles LA Lofgren, JK Uehling, S Branco, TD Bruns, F Martin, PG Kennedy Molecular Ecology


Ribosomal DNA (rDNA) copy number variation (CNV) has major physiological implications for all organisms, but how it varies for fungi, an ecologically ubiquitous and important group of microorganisms, has yet to be systemically investigated. Here, we examine rDNA CNV using an in silico read depth approach for 91 fungal taxa with sequenced genomes and assess copy number conservation across phylogenetic scales and ecological lifestyles. rDNA copy number varied considerably across fungi, ranging from an estimated 14 to 1442 copies (mean = 113, median = 82), and copy number similarity was inversely correlated with phylogenetic distance. No correlations were found between rDNA CNV and fungal trophic mode, ecological guild, or genome size. Taken together, these results show that like other microorganisms, fungi exhibit substantial variation in rDNA copy number, which is linked to their phylogeny in a scale‐dependent manner.