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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Biggest Genome Ever
7 October 2010 5:24 pm
Now THAT's a genome. A rare Japanese flower named Paris japonica sports an astonishing 149 billion base pairs, making it 50 times the size of a human genome—and the largest genome ever found. Until now, the biggest genome belonged to the marbled lungfish, whose 130 billion base pairs weighed in at an impressive 132.83 picograms. (A picogram is one-trillionth of a gram). The genome of the new record-holder, revealed in a paper in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, would be taller than Big Ben if stretched out end to end. (The smallest genome known among organisms with nuclei is that of a mammalian parasite known as Encephalitozoon intestinalis, with a relatively paltry 2.25 million base pairs). The researchers warn however that big genomes 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.
See more ScienceShots.