Gene Counting

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Gene counters discover humans have about three billion base pairs (bp) of DNA but puzzle over which organism has the highest amount of DNA. Scientists all over the world are working hard to obtain the DNA sequence of a variety of organisms. At this time, the 'giant' amoeba, Amoeba dubia (also known as Polychaos dubium) holds the record at 670 billion base pairs (bp), with Amoeba proteus (290 billion bp), the plant Adder's Tongue (Ophioglossum petiolatum), 160 billion bp, the marbled lungfish (Protopterus aethiopicus, 139 billion bp and the plant Assyrian fratillery (Fritillaria assyriaca, 125 billion bp not far behind. From http//www.sciencenet.org.uk/database/Biology/0109/b01010d.html (submitted by Paul Taylor NZ)

Editorial Comment: These numbers certainly confirm what creationists have been saying for decades - there is no such thing as a primitive organism. However we must remember the number of base pairs only indicate how much DNA an organism has, not how much useful information it carries. Much of the DNA in these "simple" organisms would be non-coding DNA that is there for protection and spacing.

We suspect single celled organisms need the extra protection of non-coding DNA and multiple copies of genes because they are so exposed to the environment. Their one nucleus is all they have to pass onto the next generation. In multicellular organisms that reproduce sexually only their well protected gametes are passed onto the next generation. As for plants and fish, the extra DNA probably has a protective function as well.

q_and_a2
crc_youtube
outdoor_museum_panel
free_audio2