World’s largest genome – level 2

06-06-2024 07:00

A fern from New Caledonia has the largest genome of any living thing. The genome, or all its DNA, is 100 meters long when you stretch it out.

Dr. Ilia Leitch from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, says it is amazing that a small plant has so much DNA. The fern, Tmesipteris oblanceolate, lived before dinosaurs and grows on trees in rainforests. Scientists found that its genome size is 160 billion base pairs using dye. Humans have about 3 billion base pairs. The fern has three world records for its large genome.

Studying this can help scientists understand how plants work and their risk of extinction. Big genomes need more resources, which can make it harder for plants to survive.

Difficult words: stretch out (to spread or extend), dye (a substance which changes the color of something), extinction (the end of an animal or plant species).

You can watch the original video in the Level 3 section.

What are the implications of a plant having a large genome, as seen in the Tmesipteris oblanceolate fern, for its survival and risk of extinction?


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