Largest genome on Earth

Which species has the largest genome?

Humans? No…

Ahhh, I remember the polyploidy was a process observed in higher plants.  Then, well it could be a plant?

OK, here is the answer – the largest genome belongs to Paris japonica, a rare Japanese flower.

The flower has the unbelievable  149 billion base pairs, which is about 50 times the size of a human genome and makes it the owner of the largest genome ever found (till now!). The former champion was marbled lungfish – 130 billion base pairs weighed in at an impressive 132.83 picograms.The plant is an octoploid and a “suspected” allopolyploid, containing genetic material from 4 species. At the end the plant has 40 chromosomes (close to the haplotype of humans). The genome of the new record-holder would be taller than Big Ben if stretched out end to end.

Just for comparison, the smallest known genome of an eukaryote is that of a mammalian parasite known as Encephalitozoon intestinalis – 2.25 million base pairs.

Besides the huge amount of information coded, to have the largest genome tend to be a liability – plants with lots of DNA have more trouble tolerating pollution and extreme climatic extinctions—and they grow more slowly than plants with less DNA, because it takes so long to replicate their genome.

The largest genome study is revealed in a paper in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society.

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