The schematic cartoon shows rDNA genes, containing single nucleotide variations within the coding (yellow dot) and non-coding regions (orange dot), being transcribed by Pol I and processed to form functional ribosomes. (c) Jason Sims
Despite modern sequencing methods, determining the precise sequence of the genetic code for ribosomal RNA (rRNA) has been technically challenging due to its repetitive nature. The Lab of Peter Schlögelhofer has now, for the first time for any organism, sequenced and assembled large parts of the rDNA-encoding nucleolus organizing region of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. In their study, published in Nature Communications, the scientists also identified several tissue-specific rRNA variants, which may have functional roles in specialized ribosomes.