Why rRNA?

John Scott Meschke jmeschke at sph.unc.edu
Wed Nov 18 09:43:07 EST 1998

I have recently been told of an article in which FISH probes targeted at
rRNA for Cryptosporidium have been used as a indicator of the viability
of oocysts.  I am curious as to why rRNA was chosen as the target and
not mRNA.  Should this be considered a good test of viability for Crypto
or other organisms?  Why is rRNA a better target, is it the relative
quantities of rRNA and mRNA, or perhaps the stability due to secondary
structure?  What are the relative turnover rates of rRNA and mRNA in an
encysted protozoan?  Any insight will be much appreciated.  Thanks in

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