Stunning Genomic Revelation: Fork Fern Breaks World Record with Largest Known Genome

by Manisha Kashyap, PhD

Tmesipteris oblanceolata

In an astonishing scientific breakthrough, researchers have discovered the largest genome ever recorded in a eukaryote, hidden within the unassuming fork fern Tmesipteris oblanceolata. This tiny plant, native to the lush forests of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, boasts a genome size of 160.75 Gbp/1C (i.e., 1C = nuclear DNA content in a gametic nucleus), shattering previous records and redefining the boundaries of genetic research. The findings, published on May 31, 2024, in the journal iScience, promise to ignite new debates and studies in the world of genomics. The open-access article is titled “A 160 Gbp Fork Fern Genome Shatters Size Record for Eukaryotes.” The research was part of an effort to enhance our understanding of how and why giant genomes evolve and function, and was based on previous evidence of genomic gigantism in the small genus Tmesipteris.

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