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Earth Science

Largest Genome Ever 189

Posted by timothy
from the trojan-marketing-campaign dept.
sciencehabit writes "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. The genome would be taller than Big Ben if stretched out end to end. 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."
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Largest Genome Ever

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  • Typo? (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Dang it. I read it as "Largest Gnome Ever". My brain was already thinking: "WTF? Why would someone need a large desktop manager? Larger than what?" Then, I read the summary. All became clear.

  • Picture (Score:5, Funny)

    by Glonoinha (587375) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @07:57PM (#33848556) Journal

    Since the article was light on visuals, I found a picture [rapha.cc] of the largest genome ever.

  • Obviously: (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "Does ist need a Multipass...?"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

    I'm glad they warned me. I was considering enlarging my genome, but now that I know the dangers I guess I'll pass.

  • er what (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by Idimmu Xul (204345)

    The genome would be taller than Big Ben if stretched out end to end.

    How big is this flower .... ?

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If the DNA was stretched out, and unpacked, then yes, it could be that tall. The DNA in each one of your cells, and in turn, each one of the cells of this plant, is highly packed through the use of histones (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histones) and supercoiling. So what would take a great deal of space, ends up being quite small. That is also how you get those wonderful little shapes of the chromosomes as well. Not all the DNA needs to be exposed all the time. When the time comes to transcribe, then it is

    • It's as tall as Big Ben - a really big bell in St. Stephen's Tower, Westminster.

      Weird unit of measurement, but there we go.

      • That's annoying is that it's hard to tell if they mean the bell or the tower it's in. American's generally don't know the difference.
        • Its fine laughing at foreigners (especially Americans) for getting things wrong that the British can get right: how to pronounce Cholmondley or Kirkcudbright (or even Edinburgh).

          The problem with "what is Big Ben?" is that the British usually get it wrong as well.

  • by cappp (1822388) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @08:09PM (#33848620)
    My girlfriend always said it's not the size of the genome that counts, its what you do with it.
  • Actually ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by niclas.l (145733) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @08:09PM (#33848622) Homepage

    Big Ben is, technically, the nick-name of the Great Bell inside the clock tower. That bell is only slightly taller than 2 meters.

    • Re:Actually ... (Score:5, Informative)

      by nedlohs (1335013) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @08:18PM (#33848662)

      It's a nickname, there is no "technically".

      It is commonly used to refer to the bell, or to the clock, or to the clock tower.

  • Probably multiploid (Score:4, Interesting)

    by morty_vikka (1112597) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @08:19PM (#33848664)
    Not that I have read TFA, but this is probably another plant with multiple copies of each chomosome. In which case it's not really a newsflash; this is the case for many plants. Sugar cane and many other monocots have extremely multiploid genomes.
  • by Ubergrendle (531719) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @08:21PM (#33848682) Journal
    So does this plant run around asking for a MUL-TI-PASS? [imdb.com]
  • they have all the sensitivities of an advanced life form.
  • And started thinking about what size a gnome must be in order to not be a gnome.

  • Perhaps the DNA is not compressed properly.
  • Thats Big (Score:3, Funny)

    by SuperTechnoNerd (964528) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @08:37PM (#33848788)
    It must be made by Microsoft. Far too many lines of code. :)
  • Ding Dong (Score:1, Redundant)

    by AmigaHeretic (991368)
    Taller than Big Ben? I assume they mean the "Clock Tower" as Big Ben is actually just the bell inside the tower.
  • As tall as Big Ben? That hardly expresses how much data is packed into this genome. I need to know is how many Library of Congresses this genome is in order to fully comprehend the size.
  • Bloated code is unmaintenable.
    Likewise, a bloated genome means it's hard to evolve.

  • Did anyone else misread this as "Largest Gnome Ever" and momentarily get excited that someone had discovered a species of Gnomes that was larger than expected?

    Ok, sure it sounds stupid when you say it out loud, but dammit for a second there...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

    Thanks for the warning; I'll remember it when designing future plant species.

    - God

  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @09:53PM (#33849174) Homepage

    Congratulations, we now have a new unit of measurement to join the myriad:

    * Libraries of Congress
    * Landmasses of Texas
    * States of Massachusetts
    * California Economies
    * Lines of Code
    * Man-Hours
    * Kilobits per second

    Welcome to the fold, Big Bens!

    • If the unit refers to the bell, it is only slightly taller then an average person. If the unit refers to the clock tower itself, it is close to a football field. It would seem this unit is redundant.

  • that's what SHE said!
  • Wow! Been playing too much Warcraft. Thought that said largest GNOME EVAH
  • For a moment there I thought it was "Largest Gnome Ever"!

  • by SpaceAmoeba (1159183) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @11:30PM (#33849670)

    Clearly humans are more efficiently coded.

    • indeed (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DrYak (748999)

      you joke, but that's indeed the case :
      - were're hot blooded and thermally regulated
      - we live in an environment with a very narrow varability
      (i mean the direct environment next to our skin. When it's cold outdoor, we just put more clothes on, instead of going out naked)

      thus our enzymes have only to work in a very specific range of conditions. Unlike this plant which has to sustain a wide range of variations, and thus needs lots of different genes coding for similar proteins,but each optimised for a slightly

  • The researchers warn however that big genomes tend to be a liability:

    That is until it's irradiated in a nuclear test and goes all Godzilla on us

  • "plants with lots of DNA have more trouble tolerating pollution and extreme climatic extinction"

    What kind of genome do you need to survive extinction?

  • Can a biologist confirm the summary/TFA are right? Wikipedia seems to disagree...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genome#Comparison_of_different_genome_sizes [wikipedia.org]
    Which one is trustworthy?
  • repetitive (Score:4, Informative)

    by kharchenko (303729) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @12:37PM (#33852574)

    Large plant genomes tend to be polyploid (>2 copies of chromosomes) and full of repetitive elements. In other words, the overall complexity is similar to other plants, even though the total size is much larger.

"Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich." -- "Ali Baba Bunny" [1957, Chuck Jones]

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