Single-copy rrn strains facilitate genetic ribosomal studies in Escherichia coli. Consecutive markerless deletion of rrn operons resulted in slower growth upon inactivation of the fourth copy, which was reversed by supplying transfer RNA genes encoded in rrn operons in trans. Removal of the sixth, penultimate rrn copy led to a reduced growth rate due to limited rrn gene dosage. Whole-genome sequencing of variants of single-copy rrn strains revealed duplications of large stretches of genomic DNA. The combination of selective pressure, resulting from the decreased growth rate, and the six identical remaining scar sequences, facilitating homologous recombination events, presumably leads to elevated genomic instability.