Small plant, big genome: This fern contains enough genetic data to fill 11,000 books

Printed version of the complete human genome Fill 220 large books. A small, seemingly unremarkable fern found on a few Pacific islands would require nearly 11,000 books to do this.

Plant, that Tmesipteris oblanceolataContains the largest known genome of any living organism, James Belliser at the Botanical Institute of Barcelona in Spain and his colleagues have discovered.

Each cell in a fern contains 321 billion letters – or base pairs – of DNA at its core.

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Before this discovery, the largest known Gene Also known as the Japanese flower plant Paris japonicaEach nucleus contains 298 billion base pairs, Belliser reported in 2010. The largest known animal genome is the marbled lungfish, Protopterus aethiopicus260 billion base pairs per nucleus.

D It is a rare plant that grows only on the islands of New Caledonia and Vanuatu in the southwest Pacific. In 2023, Belliser and his colleagues collected samples from New Caledonia.

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