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Research articles

ScienceAsia 39(2013): 36-41 |doi: 10.2306/scienceasia1513-1874.2013.39.036


Tetrahymena-specific biomass evaluation with a DNA-based method


Qingyun Yana, Yuhe Yua,*, Lili Daia,b

 
ABSTRACT:     Evaluating the biomass of a specific taxon or that of a certain nutritional level is especially important for understanding an ecosystem. Although various methods are available, there is still a lack of a universally accepted approach for taxa-specific biomass evaluation. Taking cultured unicellular Tetrahymena as an example, the present study is aimed at exploring and highlighting a DNA-based method for taxa-specific biomass estimation. Results indicated that the Tetrahymena DNA yield increased linearly with increasing number of Tetrahymena cells (p<0.001). The intra and inter real-time quantitative PCR (Q-PCR) assays were highly reproducible, and Q-PCR quantifying 18S rDNA could detect an equivalent quantity of a single cell or less. Tetrahymena-specific biomass then can be determined according to the rDNA copies quantified by Q-PCR (p<0.002), considering both of species richness and evenness (indicated by the pooled cells of Tetrahymena species with different ratios). Observations of the present study together with some others suggest that it is possible to quantify a target micro-biomass in natural ambience via specifically-amplified genes.

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a Key Laboratory of Aquatic Biodiversity and Conservation of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430072 China
b Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049 China

* Corresponding author, E-mail: yhyu@ihb.ac.cn

Received 16 May 2012, Accepted 28 Nov 2012