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The goal of this project is to improve the quantification of indoor fungal pollutants via the specific application of quantitative PCR (qPCR). Improvement will be made in the controls used in current qPCR applications. This work focuses on the use of two separate controls within a standard qPCR reaction. The first control developed was the internal standard control gene, benA. This gene encodes for β-tubulin and was selected based on its single-copy nature. The second control developed was the standard control plasmid, which contained a fragment of the ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene and produced a specific PCR product. The results confirm the multicopy nature of the rRNA region in several filamentous fungi and show that we can quantify fungi of unknown genome size over a range of spore extractions by inclusion of these two standard controls. Advances in qPCR have led to extremely sensitive and quantitative methods for single-copy genes; however, it has not been well established that the rRNA can be used to quantitate fungal contamination. We report on the use of qPCR, combined with two controls, to identify and quantify indoor fungal contaminants with a greater degree of confidence than has been achieved previously. Advances in indoor environmental health have demonstrated that contamination of the built environment by the filamentous fungi has adverse impacts on the health of building occupants. This study meets the need for more accurate and reliable methods for fungal identification and quantitation in the indoor environment.

Citation

Jonathan Black, Timothy Dean, Grace Byfield, Karin Foarde, Marc Menetrez. Determining fungi rRNA copy number by PCR. Journal of biomolecular techniques : JBT. 2013 Apr;24(1):32-8

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PMID: 23543828

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