June 23, 2024

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The little fern is the queen of DNA on Earth

The little fern is the queen of DNA on Earth

There may be some reasonable answers to the question of which member of the animal or plant kingdom has the largest genome on the planet
The blue whale, the African elephant, some giant trees or perhaps man as a complex organism. But as is often the case, nature has its own rules and disruptive realities, according to research is published In iScience, the world’s largest genome contains a small, unassuming fern found in New Caledonia in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.

The fern species, Tmesipteris oblanceolata, has a genome consisting of all the genetic information of an organism that is 7% larger than the previous record holder, the Japanese flowering plant Paris japonica, and more than 50 times the size of the human genome.


A measure of genome size was the number of base pairs, the basic units of DNA, in the nucleus of an organism’s cell. If stretched out like a ball of yarn, the length of the DNA in each cell of this fern would extend to approximately 106 meters longer than the Statue of Liberty in New York, Big Ben in London, or the Taj Mahal in India.

Likewise, the human genome would span just two meters to understand the size of the tiny fern genome.
“It is a small plant, usually 10-15 cm high, that can easily go unnoticed if you don’t look to find it,” says Zum Bellis of the Botanical Institute of Barcelona (IBB), one of the leaders of the group. Research team.

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This fern belongs to a family of ferns whose evolutionary lineage separated from other ferns about 350 million years ago, about 120 million years before the appearance of dinosaurs. “A large genome is not useful. We believe that Tmesipteris oblanceolata has such a large genome not because of any evolutionary advantage, but simply because, for some reason we do not yet know, it has failed over time to efficiently remove non-functional or unnecessary DNA sequences.”