Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Human Genome Times 50 in One Small Flower

A rare white flower from Japan, the Paris japonica, has been found to have the longest genome in the world, reports Associated Press's Raphael Satter. Researchers at Kew Gardens in London, who published their findings in Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, say the flower has a genetic code 50 times longer than that of a human being. The human genome has about 3 billion base pairs, but this 12-inch flower turns out to have 150 billion base pairs, Satter says.

ScienceShot's Elizabeth Pennisi says if laid end to end, the Paris japonica genome would be taller than Big Ben. But, she adds, as impressive as this is, researchers say 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," Pennisi says, which perhaps explains why the flower is so rare.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.