Multiple copies of a gene may lead to difficulty in the interpretation of typing results because polymorphism of the copies may wrongly lead to the conclusion that different types are present in a specimen. To determine the copy number per genome of the nuclear rDNA and beta-tubulin genes analyzed for the typing of Pneumocystis carinii f. sp. hominis, we developed a strategy based on the use of the same multicompetitor molecule in two different quantitative-competitive PCRs, one for the gene under study and the other for a reference single copy gene, allowing direct comparison of the results of both PCRs. Control experiments showed that the strategy was sensitive enough to detect duplication of a gene. The copy number of the nuclear rDNA operon was determined by amplification of the intron of the 26S rDNA gene and that of the beta-tubulin by amplification of the region surrounding the intron no. 6. The method was first tested on P. c. carinii, the special form commonly infecting rats. Pneumocystis c. carinii was found to contain a single copy of the rDNA operon. The method was then applied to P. c. hominis. The results confirmed that P. c. hominis genome contains a single copy of the nuclear rDNA and beta-tubulin genes.
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Vol. 47 • No. 4