Cyanobacteria are prokaryotic organisms that perform oxygenic photosynthesis. Fresh water cyanobacteria, such as Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942 and Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, are model organisms for the study of photosynthesis, gene regulation, and biotechnological applications because they are easy to manipulate genetically. However, while studying these cyanobacteria, care has to be taken with respect to genetic heterogeneity in the establishment of gene disruptants, because these cyanobacteria contain multiple chromosomal copies per cell. Here, we describe a method for the estimation of chromosomal copy number in Synechococcus 7942. Using this method, we have recently observed that the chromosomal copy number of Synechococcus 7942 significantly changes during its growth phases. This technique is available for studying polyploidy not only in cyanobacteria, but also in other polyploid organisms.
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