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Mountain flower has world's largest genome
December 14, 2010
Scientists were surprised to discover that Paris japonica, what the U.K. Telegraph describes as an "unremarkable and rather slow-growing
," boasts the world's largest genome at 50 times the size of our own.
Found in parts of Japan and the U.K., the relatively simple-looking
's DNA is actually the longest, most complicated sequence on the planet. One cell's worth of genetic information for the flower could stretch for 328 feet, versus the meager 6.5 feet of information coiled in a human cell, reports the news source.
"When we started looking at the plant on our machine to measure genome size it was clear there was something odd about Paris japonica. When we worked out just how big it was, I was staggered. I had to keep checking to be sure. It is amazing how the cells pack all of that DNA in there," Dr. Ilia Leitch told the Telegraph. She added that the size of an organism's genome is not necessarily an indication of its relative complexity.
Mountain flowers can make a surprisingly beautiful addition to a
. Some American West Coast varieties in particular include cliff larkspur, green-banded mariposa lily, Jacob's ladder, Jeffrey's shooting star, mountain owl's clover, white bog orchid and queen's cup lily, according to GreenNature.com.
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